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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Commercial Scallop Season 2010

Commercial Bay Scallop season has arrived. I was talking to an old local who has been scalloping here for close to 40 years. He told me he has never seen it this bad before. He also told me that he's pretty certain that the industry is over and probably will never rebound. I fear he is correct in his assumption. This is no surprise to anyone. We saw it coming for several years now. Nobody will ever know why our commercial scallop industry has failed. It's time to hang up my dredges and move on. It's been a great run for me.

14 comments:

Sharon Van Lieu said...

Is this true of scalloping everywhere or just here?

Sharon

fishguy6 said...

Hi, What is the fleet hishing for today? Oysters?Lots of guys are getting anywhere from 5-9 or ten bushels. There is a town on the vineyard with a three bushel limit.Please be more hopeful.

Martie said...

Sharon, bay scallops have disappeared along the entire east coast. Nantucket was the last place to have this happen.

Sharon Van Lieu said...

That's terrible. I wonder what is causing it.

Sharon

Martie said...

Sharon, nobody will ever know.

Richard said...

scalloping really is a grind this year,November resembles Febuary's fishing.While fishing today I couldn't help but think of the size of this harbor in comparison to how few productive areas remain, and these places get smaller each year.Its a sad state of affairs and getting worse each year,Nantucket Bay Scalloping really is a fishery in collapse.I'm glad to have seen the best of it and its such a shame to see it go.But,like the Inuit eskimos hunting the bowhead whale we still try every year!

BP said...

As was the case with all the other areas that had a viable scallop fishery, the decline in water quality was the cause of their demise. We are no exception. We used to have good water quality but now have thousands of boats washing down every day, trophy lawns being treated with high nitrogen fertilizers which eventually make it into the harbor and failed septic systems that add to the nitrogen loading of our waters. The fishery will return when we can get landscapers off SHAB, officials to implement no washdown policies and clean up our septic run-off problems.

Martie is correct in that we don't know of any one single cause of the decline. It is most certainly a combination of several known problems, however.

Cheers, Blair

Martie said...

Blair, with all due respect, and I value your expertise as a waterman but none of what you mentioned as causes for the bay scallop industry to fail on Nantucket has been proven. Scientists, stargazers, ornithologists and civilians have studied our scallops to death for decades with no answers. I'm no scientist. I'm just a member of the great unwashed. I have no idea why the scallop industry has failed. I have been commercial bay scalloping for 30 years. We go through the same thing every year at this time. We all talk about why the industry has failed. Nobody ever has any answers and they never will. I am glad that I participated in a once great commercial bay scallop fishery.

Richard said...

Blair-we appreciate the input and we are sure some of it is correct but explain to me why Tuckernuck and much of Madaket scallop areas are in collapse.Septic systems and fertilized lawns and boat washdowns are not an issue.The water quality,especially at Tuckernuck is exceptional and the eelgrass is 4' deep in some places.We can send a man to the moon but in 149 years of bay scalloping on Nantucket there are still no real answers,only theories.

Anonymous said...

You guys should read Clint Andrew's book "Fishing Around Nantucket",chapter 6. He writes "In view of the environmental conditions scallops have survived in the past,there does not seem to be any great threat in the future.They have survived the discharge of the sewage of the whole town into the harbor,before measures were taken to discontinue it.Likewise, the quantities of oil released through the bilge pumps of the great number of large fishing boats that came into the harbor in days past does not seem to have threatened scallops" My personal opinion is the disappearance of the huge beds of eelgrass in the harbor is the demise of the scallops.Without it,any spat that is produced has nothing to cling to or protect it and they are swept away with the tide.

Anonymous said...

My only request is did you get any great photos of recent scallopers dredging and hauling back? I 'd love to get some pix posted of guys/gals battling this raging storm. David G.

Martie said...

No, David. I didn't get any pictures of scallopers during this stretch of ever-living gales. I've been working on land the past two weeks trying to finish up a house I'm expertly applying product at. I have never seen so much wind in my life here on Nantucket. I can see one day, maybe two days even three days of wind, BUT NOT SEVEN DAYS IN A ROW!!! All the highliner scallopers fished right through this windy spell and got their limit of scallops every day. This wind separates the men from the boys out there.

Richard said...

Its the boats that separate the men from the boys.If you are going to be serious about scalloping you need a big heavy boat with alot of power under you.Its the same offshore.A 50 footer stays tied to the dock in a breeze while the big heavy 100 foot long sea scalloper keeps towing.

Valerie said...

Hey Martie,
Miss you on FB. I feel bad about this year's scallop season but saw it coming too. With all the seed out there, maybe next year will be better. But the fishery has been in decline since the 1980s, with just a few little blips of hope in between. I want to do what I can to preserve our fishery, which has been the last viable one over the entire range of the bay scallop, a true "national treasure". You're right, there's no one single reason, but I'm sure deteriorating water quality, habitat destruction, the bay scallop's short lifespan, and the taking of 1st-year nubs all play a role. We all need to work together: fishermen, scientists, managers, etc. to save this resource. Val