In October, after our summer visitors have returned to the mainland, we enjoy the harvests that make Nantucket unique and special.
The “family” scalloping season begins on October 1st, 2021 and runs until March 31st, 2022. Recreational scallopers can take scallops Wednesday through Sunday.
You must have a license, and prominently display your shellfishing button. If you’re snorkeling, pin it to your dive flag. Annual resident shellfishing licenses are $35, free for those over 60. Non-resident licenses are $125 for the year, and $50 for a single-week license. Licenses are available at the Nantucket Public Safety Building, 4 Fairgrounds Road.
Equipment can be found at the local marine stores including the Tidal Creeks Ship Store (formally known as Brant Point Marine) located at 32 Washington Street. For scalloping on Nantucket, you will need the following equipment:
– Belted waders (for safety) or a wet suit
– A push rake
– A clam basket tied to an inner tube to keep it afloat in the water
– Waterproof gloves
– Warm clothes
Scalloping on Nantucket
At low tide, we begin the pilgrimage to various Nantucket harbor locations. Every year the crop is different but Madaket and Monomoy are the most popular spots. We have a full month of push raking, snorkeling and scuba diving before the commercial boats get out on the water on November 1st.
Bay scallops come in all sizes but keep in mind that in order to keep the scallops you “catch” they must have a well-defined raised annual growth line on the shell.
The sweet and tasty Nantucket Bay Scallop is a delicacy and nothing likes its cousin the sea scallop. If you have a chance to eat them you will see why. Nantucket Bay Scallops are just exquisitely delicious sauteed in butter, salt and pepper for a couple of minutes but don’t crowd them in the pan! You can explore the Nantucket Bay Scallop website for information on scalloping and delicious recipes. Quinn’s favorite appetizer on island is the Bacon-wrapped Nantucket Bay Scallops at the Lobster Trap.
To preserve and protect its shellfish population, the Town of Nantucket is proactive in working to maintain the highest possible standards through:
• Strict management of local waterways and estuaries
• Balancing recreational boating and protection of natural shellfish habitats
• Adaptive catch regulations
• Seasonal limitations
• Strictly enforced daily harvest limits
• Adherence to harvesting temperature regulations
• Prohibition on harvest and possession of seed scallops
• Dredging equipment regulations to assure minimum disturbance of sea beds
• Support of emergency measures to save and return to the water scallops washed ashore during major storms