Nantucket Bay Scallop

Argopecten irradians

Primary Source(s): Nantucket

Season: November-March

The waters from Cape Cod Bay to Long Island Sound produce some of the finest bay scallops in the world however none are more coveted than those that come from Nantucket Island situated east of Martha's Vineyard. The cool waters of Nantucket Sound are perfect for bay scallops, which use the native inshore eelgrass as both a nursery as well as a shelter from predators and hard surf. While local Nantucketers can enjoy first harvest in October, the commercial harvest season opens November 1st and runs through March.

Globally regarded as one of the ocean's most awaited seasonal delicacies due to the incredible sweetness, firm texture and ethereal flavor, true Nantucket Bay Scallops are sourced from a small collection of artisan fishermen who are committed to preserving this incredible natural resource.

Fishermen in small boats using hand dredges are the main source of this species.

Bay scallops caught in Massachusetts and New York with dredges are a "Good Alternative." The population's abundance is low compared to historical levels, but bay scallops are a highly resilient species. They live for two years, and the fishery targets adult scallops after they've spawned. There are moderate concerns about bycatch due to the lack of information. Dredging occurs primarily on sandy habitat, and there are measures in place to limit impacts to eelgrass. Eelgrass habitats provide havens for many species.