N-Viro Dredge Reduces Impact of Scallop Dragging


A new option is locally available for scallop fishermen seeking to reduce the environmental impact of scallop dragging. Known as the N-Viro Dredge, the system functions by utilizing spring-tines similar to those used on farm haying equipment. The tines flip the scallops up off the seafloor and into the bag, allowing rocks and sea life to pass under the dredge and stay on the sea floor. The N-Viro Dredge, originally developed by Scottish inventor Richard Gidney, was brought to the Northeast region by Tim and Amy Sheehan of the Gulf of Maine, Inc., and it is now being used from Long Island, N.Y. north to Boston, New Hampshire, Maine, and in Atlantic Canada, including Butch Harris of Eastport and Steven Tinker of Lubec.

As a result of its design, the N-Viro Dredge produces reduced by-catch rates of juvenile scallops, as well as the by-catch of fish, sea urchins, lobsters, sponges, sea stars, anemones, and other sea-floor invertebrates. In its weight, the N-Viro comes in at 70% less weight of a typical New Bedford style scallop chain sweep of the same width. The tines of the dredge are replaceable and the dredge system is scalable for boats from 20’ up to 200’ long.