70º days in October and November get you out of the house looking for something to do. Luckily, being on Nantucket this time of year sure has its perks! The recreational scalloping season began on October 1, and many scallopers have been very successful out in our harbors! Before you get too excited, make sure you are properly equipped and knowledgeable about scallop harvesting criteria.
Rules & Regulations
You must apply for a recreational shellfish permit or pass, which can be picked up at the Nantucket Police Department. Each person in your party who is gathering scallops must have their own shellfish permit.
When scalloping, make sure to only harvest the ones with a growth line greater than 10 millimeters from the scallop's hinge.
Defined growth lines less than 10 millimeters from the scallop's hinge must measure 2.5 inches from its hinge to the top of the shell.
You are allowed one bushel per week
The season is open Wednesday through Sunday
The season ends on March 31, 2023
For more information about the rules and regulations of scalloping, please visit the Town of Nantucket's shellfishing policy and regulations here.
There are a few different ways to successfully harvest scallops, my favorite is diving for them, but raking is just as enjoyable!
If you want to dive for scallops, here is some recommended equipment:
Snorkel gear (mask, snorkel, fins)
2-5 millimeter wetsuit, gloves, and boots
Mesh bag or net to collect and carry scallops while diving
Diver-down flag to warn other boaters and ocean-goers that you are diving
Your scalloping license
If you would prefer to rake for scallops, here are some necessities:
A push rake
Belted waders or a wetsuit
A basket or bushel attached to a flotation device to stay afloat and hold your scallops
Your scalloping license
There are many local stores that offer scalloping necessities and are happy to help get you well-equipt and in the water.
Indian Summer Upper Deck | 6 Broad Street | (508) 228-3632
Sunken Ship | 12 Broad Street | (508) 228-9226
Tidal Creeks Outfitters | 32 Washington Street | (508) 228-6244
Let's get to it
On a warm and sunny Fall day, you are likely to see scallopers out in Madaket and Monomoy. Scallops are typically found in the highest quantities in eelgrass, so most Nantucket harbors and inlets are a good place to start!
The Nantucket Bay Scallop is incomparable to any other scallop, especially when you harvest them yourself. Sautee them on the stove, or wrap them in bacon and pop them in the oven and enjoy.
If you're on Nantucket, you're lucky enough, but not everyone has the privilege to harvest their own scallops. The Town of Nantucket and the Nantucket Shellfish Association put in a lot of effort to protect shellfish populations, Nantucket's harbors, and water quality, and ensure that we will be able to scallop for years to come. Do your part by following all rules and regulations, and being respectful of the ocean and animals surrounding you!
For more information about Nantucket Scalloping and the Town of Nantucket's effort to mitigate harbor, eelgrass, and shellfish disturbances, please see the Nantucket Shellfish Association's website.
Where can I buy some?
.... If scalloping isn't for you, but you still want to try a truly fresh and delicious Nantucket Bay Scallop, the commercial scalloping season began November 1st. This means that many island fish markets will be selling their freshest catch. Head over to one of the following markets to pick some up!
Glidden's Island Seafood | 115 Pleasant Street | (508) 228-0912
Souza's Seafood | 23 Trotters Lane | (508) 228-9140
Nantucket Seafoods | 56 Old South Road | (508) 325-6345
Sayle's Seafood | 99 Washington Street Ext. | (508) 228-4599
Nantucket Meat and Fish Market | 21 Old South Road | (774) 333-5176
Happy Harvesting, Nantucket!