Scallop season officially opened on Monday to the delight of many. In the bright morning, fishermen tirelessly searched the waters with their look boxes and dip nets, while some East Hampton residents plucked out dinner for that night with their bare hands. The excitement over scallop season seems to be an indicator of a good year.
Danielle Friscia and Skip Van Siclen were at Lazy Point, at the bay side of Napeague, with their bloodhound-Labrador mix, Dopey, on Monday morning. They were hoping for scallops but were digging up soft-shell clams, also called steamers.
The plan was to go scalloping, but that changed when they got intimidated by all the commercial fishermen at the Walking Dunes, across Napeague Harbor. They found their own spot at Lazy Point, happened upon a lot of steamers, and went with it.
“We will take whatever we can harvest,” Mr. Van Siclen said as he was digging through the sand with his hands. “But scallops are the real prize.”
Ms. Friscia, holding up a steamer, was all smiles.
“We chickened out—we don’t have the Bub setup,” she said about scalloping with the fishermen. “I think I’ll make a nice linguine and clam dish tonight.”
Bruce Sasso, co-owner of Stuart’s Seafood in Amagansett, said this season will be a good one, but not as good as last year.
“I bought scallops from maybe six different guys who came in with about 15 to 30 pounds each,” he said, noting that he buys from local fishermen. “It’s a lot less than last year, but it is what it is. We had so many last year that we knew this year there would be less.”
Stuart’s Seafood has seen its share of scallops over its 75 years in business, Mr. Sasso said.
“It was 30 years ago when I first started coming here with my father and grandfather,” he said. “The scallops would be piled up 4 or 5 feet high and there would be anywhere from 10 to 12 people shucking them for 20 hours a day.”
He said Stuart’s Seafood used to put out 3,000 to 4,000 pounds of scallop meat each day back in the day when scallops were $4 a pound and plentiful.
He said the weather helped bring in a nice catch on Monday.
“I’m hoping we can get the next three or four months out of them until the weather gets nasty enough,” he said. “We have just enough for our retail this year. Everybody wants them. They’re like candy and we’re just a bunch of kids.”