PORTLAND, Maine — An effort to trap and relocate lobsters from Portland Harbor to make way for dredging work will temporarily infringe on scallop fishing in those areas, state officials said late Monday afternoon.
Resource Management Coordinator Trish DeGraaf of the Department of Marine Resources issued a notice Monday saying that the state is required to move lobsters from the Portland Harbor channel being dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“This trapping effort, coordinated by the Portland Harbor Commission, involves the use of 300 ventless traps to capture and relocate lobsters from the area to be dredged,” DeGraaf wrote, in part. “It has become apparent that there may be gear conflict with the scallop dragging fleet in the outer portions of Portland Harbor. Ventless lobster traps are being fished in an area that is not typically fished in high trap densities by the commercial lobster fleet at this time of year but is dragged by the commercial scallop fleet.”
As a result of the conflict, she said the department is asking scallop draggers to “use caution when fishing the area north and east of a line drawn from eastern end of the breakwater at Spring Point, South Portland to the eastern tip of Fort Gorges, then to the eastern tip of Fish Point, Portland.”
DeGraaf also said the channel work is expected to be complete by March 15.
The federal shipping channel through Portland Harbor was last dredged nearly 15 years ago. The contract for just more than $9.23 million was awarded to Cashman Dredging & Marine Contracting Co., based out of Quincy, Mass.
The project is to involve the removal of approximately 700,000 cubic yards of material from the channel and will deepen the channel to 35 feet.