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Fall Scalloping Season on Nantucket


Nantucket Activities

Fisher Real Estate
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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, 2023 and runs until March 31st, 2024. Recreational scallopers can take scallops Wednesday through Sunday.

Before heading out to the harbor, you must obtain a Shellfish Permit Button from the Town of Nantucket. You must prominently display your shellfishing button, and if you’re snorkeling, pin it to your dive flag. You can find the application HERE and bring payment to the Public Safety Facility at 4 Fairgrounds Road.

  • Nantucket Residents over 60 are able to apply for a Shellfish Permit Button for free and it does not expire.

  • Nantucket residents aged 14-59 must apply annually for $35 per person.

  • Off-island residents are able to apply for a one-week permit for $50 or a one-year permit for $125.

scalloping nantucket

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. This scallop above is not an adult with a raised, well-defined growth ring and should not be taken.

The sweet and tasty Nantucket Bay Scallop is a delicacy and is nothing like its cousin, the sea scallop. If you have a chance to eat both of them, you will see why! Nantucket Bay Scallops are exquisitely delicious sautéed 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.

nantucket bay scallop

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

Happy Scalloping Season, Nantucket!

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Fisher Real Estate