Spatial and temporal variations in the meat weight of sea scallops were examined in the Georges Bank fishery. From 1998–2007, 31 commercial scallop vessels supplied 145 dissections from the last tow of their fishing trip. During the dissection process we recorded the shell height, meat weight, sex, gonad weight, and visceral tissue weight. Meat weight was regressed against shell height (Ln(MW) = α β ln SH). Predicted meat weight varied by up to 29% for a 120 mm shell height scallop among months. Scallop meat weight varied by 31% for a 120 mm shell height scallop between areas in the same month. The Southern Flank of Georges Bank had a different pattern of monthly variation in meat weight, possibly because of a spring spawning event observed in the gonadal indices. These spatial and temporal differences in meat weight could affect harvest, and harvest rate, with a 22% difference in scallops harvested between June and October calculated from a hypothetical fishery. Understanding these spatial and temporal variations in the shell height/meat weight relationship is important for optimal harvest, especially if a fully rotational area management strategy is implemented.
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Vol. 28 • No. 3