While the larger, and arguably inferior, sea scallops may be harvested throughout the year (just like clams, oysters and mussels), the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation only gives us five months to dine on fresh Peconic Bay scallops. And the time to enjoy these smaller, sweeter delights is upon us!
Bay scallops may be taken from our waters beginning on the first Monday in November through March 31, making next Monday, November 3 the official start of the 2014–2015 bay scallop season. This, of course, will lead to excellent scallop dishes at our local restaurants, not to mention whatever fabulous meals we might cook at home, so keep an eye out for those dinner specials or buy them fresh at our local seafood markets.
Even better, go out and harvest your own. Just make sure you’re up on the latest shellfishing ordinances in your town. Southampton Town residents are allowed to harvest shellfish recreationally (as long as you’re not scuba diving, but you must have a permit, which can be attained at no cost to residents. For complete details, check out the Southampton Town shellfishing code here.
Similarly, residency is required to enjoy recreational shellfishing in East Hampton Township, but residents must also get a permit before taking any shellfish (scallops, clams, mussels, oysters) or shellfish predators (crab, lobster), and permitted shellfishing may only take place in designated areas within the Town. For complete details, read the East Hampton Town shellfishing ordinance here.
According the the NYDEC, state law limits recreational harvest to no more than one bushel (combined total volume) of clams, oysters and mussels per day. In addition, one bushel of bay scallops per day may be taken during the season. No permit is required for recreational shellfish harvesting from state lands. Freshwater shellfish may only be taken or harvested with a license to collect or possess. If you have additional questions or would like more information on shellfish harvesting, particularly in the case of Peconic Bay Scallops, visit dec.ny.gov or call the DEC’s Bureau of Marine Resources at 631-444-0475.
Now get out there and enjoy some bay scallops!
NOTE: As the season gets underway, and you’re harvesting and dining in earnest, post your favorite Peconic Bay scallop recipes and dishes on the Dan’s Facebook and Twitter pages or in the comments below (or email to firstname.lastname@example.org), and we’ll post the best of them in Hampton Eats.