Bay scalloping season is about to begin, but harvests are expected to be limited, Island shellfish constables said this week.

“It’s a lackluster year,” said Edgartown shellfish constable Paul Bagnall. “I wouldn’t quit your day job, but we will still have our regulars showing up.”

Edgartown traditionally gets the season started first, with recreational scalloping open Oct. 1.

“That’s basically cast in stone, and a lot of recreational people depend on that,” Mr. Bagnall said. But dragging will not be allowed at Cape Pogue until the last weekend of the month, Mr. Bagnall said.

Commercial scalloping in Edgartown opens Nov. 1.

“The good news is, we still have some scallops,” Mr. Bagnall said. “The bad news is it’s not as good as the good old days.”

Raised in Edgartown, Mr. Bagnall recalled past seasons when storms drove scallops onto Lighthouse Beach in multitudes — one year he used a wheelbarrow to cart them home, he said — and shellfishermen harvested more than 35,000 bushels in a season.

Catch numbers went down statewide in the mid-1980s, Mr. Bagnall said, followed by a gradual recovery in southeastern Massachusetts.

“We all had a good year about three years ago, and Westport hadn’t had scallops at least 20 years — there were no more cutting houses left,” Mr. Bagnall said, referring to the scallop shucking shacks that were once a familiar sight.

“Nowadays, a good year for us [in Edgartown] is 5,000 to 10,000 bushels,” the longtime constable said.

In 2020, the town’s recreational and commercial harvests together added up to fewer than 2,000 bushels.

“We’re hoping for at least twice that this year,” Mr. Bagnall said.

Tisbury may not have a season at all, shellfish constable Danielle Ewart told the Gazette.

“It’s not a good year for bay scallops in Vineyard Haven,” she said.

She is considering asking the waterways committee not to open scallop season, because she has seen so few mature scallops in town waters, Ms. Ewart said.

“We’re fortunate that we got seed from the [Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group] hatchery,” she said. “We’re hoping they make it through to next year.”

Last season, which opened in November, was a scanty one for Tisbury, with 19.5 bushels harvested recreationally and eight bushels commercially in 2020, according to the annual town report.

Just a few more bushels came in before the season came to a natural close in early 2021, Ms. Ewart said.

“Once [shellfishermen] see more seed in their basket than scallops, they stop,” she said.

In Chilmark, where recreational scalloping opens Oct. 18, shellfish constable Isaiah Scheffer was optimistic — within reason.

“It’s probably better than the last couple of years, but by no means would I call it a banner year,” Mr. Scheffer said.

“There are actually not a lot of scallops in Nashaquitsa Pond,” a popular family shellfishing spot, he said.

“It seems the majority are out on Menemsha flats.”

Muddy Cove is off limits to dragging by recreational and commercial scallopers alike, according to season rules approved by the Chilmark select board last week.

“It’s just to protect the eel grass,” Mr. Scheffer told the board at its weekly meeting Tuesday on Zoom.

“People can go and dipnet — they can dipnet from a boat, they can dipnet from waders — just as long as they’re not dragging those roots up,” he said.

Commercial scalloping in Chilmark begins Nov. 22.

Oak Bluffs and Aquinnah have not announced their shellfish opening dates.