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, 2020 and runs until March 31st, 2021. 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. 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
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.