DEM announces scallop harvest season
The Department of Environmental Management recently announced that the bay scallop harvest season opens at sunrise on Nov. 3 and continues until Dec. 31 at sunset. Rhode Island residents can take up to one bushel of scallops per day without a license, and commercial license holders can take up to three bushels per day, per boat, from state waters. Nonlicense holders cannot offer scallops for sale.
Harvesters are reminded that possession of seed scallops is prohibited. Legal scallops possess a defined, raised, annual growth ring.
To protect scallops and bottom habitats from dredge damage, scallops can be harvested by dipnet only from a boat from Nov. 3 through Nov. 30. Dredging will be allowed after Nov. 30 to access remaining adult scallops residing in deeper waters.
According to DEM regulations, it is prohibited to shuck scallops or dispose of scallop shells on the waters of the state.
Bay scallop populations have increased in several of the state’s coastal ponds as a result of shellfi sh restoration and enhancement efforts undertaken by DEM, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Save the Bay. While bay scallop numbers are shy of historic levels, enough bay scallop “seed” are present in the South County salt ponds that individuals are being asked to avoid stepping on the juvenile scallops to help insure that they survive to spawning age. Possession of seed scallops is prohibited. Seed scallop is defined as a scallop less than a year old lacking a well-defined raised annual growth ring.
Collaborative oyster restoration and enhancement efforts between DEM, The Nature Conservancy, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Roger Williams University and volunteers, along with the work conducted by the North Cape Shellfish Restoration program, have resulted in substantial juvenile oyster sets in some of the South County salt ponds. Ninigret Pond in Charlestown has enough juvenile oysters that bathers and shellfishers are advised to wear foot protection to avoid getting cuts and scrapes.
The state’s oyster harvesting season is open now through May 15, 2013. Oysters must be at least three inches long to be legally harvested. In shellfish management areas, the daily recreational possession limit is one peck and the daily commercial possession limit is three bushels.