When Is Scallop Season?

Valerie Clark

Scallop season is generally observed during the summer months and into the early fall each year. Recreational scallop fishing regulations might specify certain dates when scallop fishing is allowed. Commercial scallop fishing is concentrated off the northeastern coast of the United States and the eastern coast of Canada. Japan and China also produce an abundance of scallops each season.

Cooked scallops.
Cooked scallops.

Summertime is when scallop season begins around the globe. In some places, commercial scallop fishing is banned, but recreational scallop fishing is popular. Vacationers to these places often enjoy spending a day on a boat while snorkeling and collecting scallops by hand.

Scallops in their shells.
Scallops in their shells.

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The northeastern U.S. coast and the eastern Canadian coast are home to the largest wild fishery during scallop season. Commercial scallop fishers in this region catch Atlantic sea scallops. After a period of over-fishing, the population of Atlantic sea scallops recovered and reached historically high numbers during the early 21st century.

The northeastern US coast and eastern Canada are home to many commercial scallop fishing operations.
The northeastern US coast and eastern Canada are home to many commercial scallop fishing operations.

Other areas of the world are also part of the commercial scallop season industry. Behind the northern Atlantic coast of North America, Japan and China are the next-biggest producers of scallops. Japan’s scallops are either caught in the wild or grown in aquaculture. Most of China’s scallop harvest is grown in aquaculture.

Harvesting scallops from aquaculture might be more sustainable in some regions than wild fisheries. Scallop population sizes have suffered in many parts of the world as a result of over-fishing. As a result, scallop fishing has been banned in some places. Researchers have been conducting studies to better understand the scallop population dynamics and harvesting practices.

Scallops are shellfish that live on the bottom of the ocean floor. Commercial fishermen typically catch scallops in the wild using a dredge or trawl that disrupts the ocean bottom and the habitat of the marine life there. Divers also can collect scallops by hand. Catching scallops by hand drastically reduces the habitat disturbance, and some people think that it yields a better-tasting crop.

Whether the scallops are collected by hand or by dredge, the warm-weather scallop season creates the opportunity for new seafood recipes. Cooking with scallops is like cooking with clams. They can be steamed or boiled and tossed with garlic butter and a little seasoning, then served alongside a plate of pasta, crab cakes or steak.

Prepared scallops can be served along with crab cakes.
Prepared scallops can be served along with crab cakes.

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Discussion Comments

anon998023

If the U.S. government had its way, we would be importing them from other countries that have no scruples or morals about over fishing.

Ruggercat68

I'm glad there is a regulated scalloping season in Florida. There have been other seafood species that have been overfished nearly to the point of extinction. I love scallops, and I don't want to see the price shoot up because of greed.

Phaedrus

I've heard you really have to know your sources when it comes to buying scallops. Some unscrupulous fisheries will cut out scallop-shaped plugs from other types of fish, like shark, and sell them as real scallops. Be sure you deal with legitimate fish suppliers who are willing to show you samples of the scallops before you buy them.

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