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    Eastern Fisheries is adding 24th vessel to its scallop fleet

    Eastern Fisheries Inc., which bills itself as world’s largest harvester, processor, and marketer of scallops, said it has added the Maelstrom to its fleet of fishing vessels.

    The 95-foot-long Maelstrom will be the 24th vessel in its fleet, New Bedford-based Eastern Fisheries said.

    The company also plans to replace four older vessels in the fleet with new boats.

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    Those four new vessels, coming up from Duckworth Shipbuilders in Florida, will use a more fuel-efficient engine, Eastern vice president Ronald Enoksen said in a statement.

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    The first two of these new boats, the Rost and the Pyxis, are scheduled to be in New Bedford by the summer.

    Last year, Eastern Fisheries completed agreements to begin operating a scallop farm off the coast of China.

    The plan is for the farmed scallops to complement Eastern’s wild caught products. Over time, having a farm of its own will enable Eastern to decrease its third party purchases of farmed Asian scallops, the company said.

    Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.