Scallop Season Seems Promising, Better Than Last Year

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Baymen are hopeful about this scallop season’s bounty, saying it should be much better than last year’s based on what’s been collected thus far.

The harvest began in state waters on Monday, November 3, but began in East Hampton Town waters only yesterday, November 10.

According to bayman Nat Miller, who is also an East Hampton Town Trustee, it’s been good so far.

“This year, there’s been a very good harvest,” he said, referring to the take from state waters on Friday. “There seem to be scallops scattered everywhere you go. I have a lot of confidence that for someone like me, a full-time fisherman, I’ll be able to go through the holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and be good to go, financially.”

Mr. Miller, who has been fishing since he was a child, said he sells his scallops at his own shucking shop, at the Lesters’ property on Abraham’s Path, as well as at local markets like Stuart’s Seafood in Amagansett, and that he also sells them wholesale privately.

He said he’d rate this year’s bounty, based on a scale of one to 10, as a seven or an eight—whereas last year was a two or three.

Danny Lester, who goes fishing with Mr. Miller, said he thinks there has been a lot of hype over the amount of scallops in state waters, however. “It’s not as good as everybody said it was going to be. It’s already slow,” he said. “A lot of people like to hype it up. Yesterday, I came back with 14 bushels, and I was out there from 6:30 a.m. to noon.”

He said he had seen a few bugs, or baby scallops, in town waters last season, but couldn’t estimate how good the harvest could be this time around. He said last year was “mediocre.”

Bruce Sasso, the co-owner of Stuart’s Seafood, is expecting good things, at least for the short term.

“The first week was good, like it was two years ago, and it’s better than last year,” he said. “It should be pretty plentiful for the first couple of months. A lot of people only go for the first month, while the getting’s good, but when the day is long and they project they’ll get five bushels, they stop going.”

He said Stuart’s received approximately 10,000 pounds of scallops last year, which were then sold to customers, as well as wholesale to other dealers and to restaurants.

“For the first couple of months it’s like candy,” he said. “We don’t get the heavy volume like we did 10 or 20 years ago, but it’s enough to keep the local people happy.”

Monday morning, Colin Mather, owner of The Seafood Shop in Wainscott, said things look pretty good after he received 15 bushels earlier in the morning. “It’s certainly a lot better,” he said. “Last year, the scallops were coming up dead in the dredges. This year, they’re looking healthy, and the fishermen are also seeing quite a few bugs.”

He said last year it was “pretty miserable” because the season was effectively over within two weeks and then the shop had to depend on Nantucket to get its scallops.

But the consensus is that this year is promising.

“It hasn’t been bountiful like this in a long time,” Mr. Miller said.

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