Aquinnah Pulls the Plug on Commercial Scalloping Season

Only family scalloping will be allowed in Aquinnah this season, per the advice of the Aquinnah shellfish. Research into the pond’s beds showed an abundance of seed, but not a significant amount of adult scallops for commercial fisherman to harvest.

If an area is discovered to have and abundance of marketable scallops, the shellfish committee will meet again to discuss opening up the pond for commercial fishing.

Commercial Scallop Season Begins

The commercial bay scallop season is open in all towns save Aquinnah, and as hardy shellfishermen don their orange and yellow foul weather gear, perhaps hoping for a small hedge against hard economic times, the early reports on the season are mixed.

Edgartown is having an average to healthy year, but the scallops coming out of Cape Pogue are small. Chilmark expects to have a short season this year. Sengekontacket remains mostly the steady domain of family fishermen (no dragging is allowed there). And the Lagoon Pond is hot.

Cape Pogue Algae Bloom Returns, Bay Scallops Moved to Sengie

Volunteer Edgartown shellfishermen worked the tides last week to transfer young bay scallops out of harm’s way at Cape Pogue Pond, after an algae bloom seen a year ago returned.

Cochlodinium polykrikoides, a single-cell dinoflagellate, staged a late-summer comeback in the large, pristine bay that lies north of the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick. The algae is not harmful to humans but can be toxic to shellfish.

Price of Perfection, Bay Scallops Are Everyone’s Favorite Mollusk

Nothing says small and sweet like bay scallop season.

Jewels for both the palate and year-round economies, bay scallops have become almost unique to Vineyard waters — Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are two of the last places with a thriving commercial season. For many an Island fishermen bay scalloping has become the backbone of the off-season economy, giving them the ability to make a solid day’s pay in the dead of winter.

They also keep Island chefs happy. Most agree the bay scallop’s flavor stands on its own.

Call it a Day for Bay Scallops: Fishermen Weigh in Good Season

For those who love to eat fresh bay scallops harvested from Island ponds, they won’t be available in fish markets for long. The fishery closed yesterday.

Shellfish constables report it was a fair season, with Edgartown doing the best. More than 100 commercial bay scallopers across the Island were able to make a decent day’s pay since the season began back in the fall. Only one or two fishermen were out working the ponds in each of the towns by the season’s end, though.

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