On Dec. 1, the first day of the 2015-2016 Maine scallop season, hundreds of harvesters began steaming for scallop-rich state waters.

And every fishing day during the season, they will return to shore with a small bounty of the seasonal delicacies, prized for their unique freshness and clean, sweet flavor.

Maine scallops, harvested only between December and mid-April, owe their exceptional flavor in large part to the day trips that bring them to shore.

Maine harvesters, both divers and trawlers, spend no more than one day on the water per trip, often only a few hours, then come to shore to sell their scallops to dealers or directly to customers. Many Maine scallops are served within hours of harvest.

Fresh flavor is just one thing that distinguishes Maine scallops. This is a fishery on the rebound – a true success story. In 2005, Maine’s scallop resource was at an all-time low. But measures that include targeted closures, limited access areas and rotational closures have allowed steady improvement in the resource and resulting growth in landings and value.

In 2014, thanks to commitment by industry to this forward-thinking management approach, landings increased more than 15-fold over 2005 and value jumped more than 27-fold.

This management system has not only sustained the resource, but also assisted Maine’s coastal communities by ensuring diverse economic opportunity for fishermen.

This winter, be sure to ask your restaurant or seafood dealer for Maine scallops. You’ll enjoy a unique seasonal delicacy while contributing to the future of Maine’s coastal economy.

Paul R. LePage

Governor

Augusta