Fishery council official plays down damage from scallop dredging

The characterization by Andy Applegate, a biologist from the New England Fishery Management Council, of scallop dredging effects on ocean floor habitat in Becky Evans’ story, “Action considered for N.J. fishery,” which ran on April 12, downplays and contorts the real and devastating effects of scallop dredging on marine habitats. Applegate’s “displacing” and “overturning” boulders and sea floor life sounds like scallop dredges are merely rearranging the ocean floor. In reality, scallop dredges catch, crush and kill most sea floor creatures and disrupt the ocean floor in pretty short order. Applegate’s statement that sea bed fauna is “displaced” implies that somehow the fauna remain intact and alive and are relocated to other parts of the ocean.