New York Scallop Season A Disaster

By Dan Nosowitz.

Scallop season in the Northeast opened this past week, with fishermen in New York and New England heading out to find small, succulent bay scallops.

The results of the early fishing have been what you might generously called “mixed.” In Massachusetts, fishermen off Martha’s Vineyard have seen a bounce-back year—but only compared to last year. In New York’s Peconic Bay, the area in between the two land forks at the far end of Long Island, the news is far worse.

Peconic Bay scallops are renowned throughout New York, retailing for near $30 a pound even locally. They’ve long been a prized and important catch, worth somewhere around $1.5 million each year, and are especially important for fishermen as winter approaches. But this year, reports Charity Robey at the New York Times, the scallops have almost entirely failed to show up.

A lack of empty shells, picked over by gulls, in the previous few months had alerted the New York fishermen that this year would be a grim one. But the degree to which the scallops have disappeared still seems shocking. Many fishermen did not even bother to go out on opening day of the scallop season; the few that did found the sea deserted of scallops, some even coming back with too few scallops to sell.