A true sign of fall is the start of family scalloping season on October 2nd, a tradition unique to Nantucket. If you are lucky, you have just defrosted the last of your bay scallops from last fall. And you are likely checking your waders, your push rake, inner tube and bushel baskets and looking forward to next Tuesday.
Nantucket bay scallops are a special delicacy unique to the island and, luckily, anyone on Nantucket in October, with a recreational shellfish license from the Town, can go catch their own scallops. Please contact the Town’s Marine Department, located at 34 Washington Street or by phone at (508) 228-7260, for more information on obtaining a license.
There are some rules for recreational scalloping. Only take scallops that have a raised, well-defined growth ring on their shell or are at least .5 inches in height from the bottom of the shell to the top. One cannot take small scallops, as they’re still growing for next year’s season. Shellfish wardens will be out and checking if your catch is fair. Another rule is that you can only have one bushel per license per week.
November 1st marks the beginning of the commercial season for the harvest, sale, and purchase of scallops in Nantucket. This season continues on through the end of March, weather permitting.