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Nov 8, 2017 9:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bay Scallop Season Kicks Off In Southampton Town With Promising Numbers

Scallop season opened up in the Town of Southampton on Monday. GREG WEHNER
Nov 8, 2017 9:58 AM

Bay scallop season officially kicked off Monday in Southampton Town waters, and preliminary reports indicated that, even after a delay in getting all of the certified waters in the town opened, things look promising.

The season got off to a bumpy start as the State Department of Environmental Conservation had closed some shellfishing grounds after a storm passed through on October 29, dumping more than 3 inches of rain across the East End and raising pollution levels in the waters.

While a handful of popular scalloping spots—like North Sea Harbor, Noyac Creek, Robins Island and Cow Pasture—were open on Monday, major areas, including Shinnecock Bay and its tributaries, were closed. But on Tuesday, the DEC announced that all of the normally certified shellfish lands in Moriches Bay, Shinnecock Bay, Red Creek Pond and Squire Pond would be open to shellfishing on Wednesday at sunrise.

Regardless of the closure, baymen are delivering healthy and meaty scallops from the already opened waters to seafood shops across the East End.

Danny Coronesi, who works at Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays, said baymen delivered nearly 300 bushels of scallops to his company’s Lighthouse Road shop on Monday. “So far, so good,” he said on Tuesday, noting that the scallops are big, plentiful and delicious. “It’s been a very good opening so far.”

Because the scallops are plentiful, Mr. Coronesi said Cor-J is selling scallops at $19.95 per pound compared to $26 to $27 per pound last year. “The harvesters aren’t thrilled,” he added.

After finding out that many of the waters were closed, Southampton Town Trustee Ed Warner, who works as a bayman, said he hopped in his boat on Monday morning and went scalloping near Noyac Bay. While working other areas as well, Mr. Warner said he reached his limit of “beautiful” scallops.

The DEC designates the first Monday of November as the beginning of the bay scallop season, which is scheduled to run through March 2018.

According to the DEC’s website, recreational scallopers can collect up to one bushel each day when working either town or state waters. Commercial fishermen, meanwhile, are permitted to harvest up to five bushels each day when working town waters, or up to 10 bushels daily when harvesting from state waters.

Scallop limits were put in place by both the DEC and the Town Trustees to help replenish the number of adult scallops after a devastating brown tide in the mid-1980s that nearly wiped out the entire East End’s scalloping industry.

Scalloping in East Hampton Town waters, meanwhile, will open this Monday, November 13, for that town’s residents and commercial fishermen. The easternmost township has for years held its scallop season opening a week later to allow its baymen to work traditional harvesting grounds in state waters without missing out on the sometimes robust harvest in the town’s smaller creeks and bays.

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