PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A plan to create a fishing license lottery to get new people into the scallop fishery has passed a key hurdle in the Maine Legislature.

The Joint Standing Committee on Marine Resources unanimously approved the proposal on Feb. 14. It now moves to the full Legislature, which is likely to vote on it in the next couple of weeks.

The average age of Maine scallop fishermen is higher than 50, and the fishery has been closed to new people since 2009. Some fishermen and fishing managers have expressed concern that the fishery could end up needing new people at a time when the shellfish are healthy.

Maine's scallop fishery set a record value at $12.77 per pound at the docks in 2016.