We were recently approved for our 2014 special license through the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR). We are required to file a special license application for our research because we are asking for an exception from existing legislation that prohibits collecting undersized scallops, tissue and shell samples. The tissue samples are being saved for genetic analysis which will help us understand the connectivity between different scallop population locations, and we will also keep the shells from each individual collected for aging and growth rate analysis.
The DMR Application describes the purpose of our project, how project findings might be useful in future management decisions, the specific activities we will be carrying out as part of the project, and gear types used to collect samples. For this application, we worked with Kevin Rousseau, who is part of the regulations, hearings, and special licenses division of the DMR.
Special license applications are reviewed and voted for approval by the Department's Advisory Council, which is made up of 16 members: five commercial harvesters who each represent a different fishery, four people who hold a non-harvesting-related license, a recreational fishing representative, a member of the public, and an aquaculture industry representative. The chair of the Lobster Advisory Council, the chair of the Sea Run Fisheries and Habitat Advisory, the chair of the Sea Urchin Zone Council, and the chair of the Shellfish Advisory Council are ex officio members of the council.