ELLSWORTH, Maine (AP) — Maine is considering adopting a lottery system for new scalloping licenses, which haven't been offered in the state in eight years.

The Bangor Daily News reports the state's considering developing a system to start issuing new licenses while protecting the long-term health of the fishery. The move is coming at a time when prices of scallops are reaching historic highs.

Maine's 630 licensed scallop fishermen are also aging, with an average age of 51. The Maine Department of Marine Resources has said it would like to reduce the number of licenses while also letting new people into the fishery.

The lottery idea got a cool reception at a public hearing in Ellsworth last week. Some who spoke said they'd rather see an apprenticeship program, which exists in the lobster fishery.