This year’s Peconic Bay scallop harvest started off with one of the strongest yields in years, according to local baymen and seafood retailers.
“It’s definitely a pretty impressive year,” said Charlie Manwaring, owner of Southold Fish Market. During the first week, in fact, so many baymen brought in their 10-bushel limit that he and other market operators asked them to hold off on bringing in more so that they could catch up with the oversupply, which strained their ability to shuck and sell the mounds of shellfish.
This season’s considerable bounty of scallops also affected their cost to consumers, driving prices down and offering customers a good deal on a fresh, local product.
“That’s one of the reasons we told baymen to hold off, too, as we can only process so much in a day and at the same point there’s only so much business out there to buy them,” Braun Seafood manager Keith Reda said. “So if everybody’s pushing out these low-priced scallops, the people are just going to wait until it goes lower and lower.”
Stephen Tettelbach, professor of biology at LIU and co-leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s scallop restoration program, said he witnessed some of the biggest scallops he’s seen in 30 years, a point with which Mr. Reda agreed.
“This year is definitely, I think, more volume,” Mr. Reda said. “There seem to be quite a few scallops in a lot of different areas, which is a really good thing because guys can kind of spread out across the bay.”
Southold Town Baymen’s Association president Nate Andruski said he anticipates a steady season through March, giving baymen the opportunity to make money all winter.