There is a silver lining to the prolonged winter for local fishermen and seafood lovers: Bay scallop season has been extended an extra month to help area fishermen recoup losses contributed to the brutally cold weather.
Sunrise today marked the official opening of scalloping season on the North Fork.
Area baymen are heading out into state and Southold Town waters in search of the Atlantic bay scallop, found mostly in the small bays and harbors of the Peconic Bay, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Ed Densieski, a baymen from Riverhead said, “you never really know what to expect until the first day of the season.”
He has gone out scouting bay waters for baby scallops, and said he was hopeful it was going to be a good season.
According to the Peconic Estuary Program, during scalloping’s height about 500,000 pounds of bay scallops a season could be harvested from bay waters – equaling almost $2 million in dockside value.
But the scallop population was soon decimated following the first appearance of brown tide in 1985.
The sought-after shellfish has since been making a comeback over the past decade, according to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County.
In Southold and Riverhead Town waters, commercial fisherman are limited to five bushels of scallops per person per day.
Two or more people occupying the same boat may take not more than 10 bushels of scallops per day for commercial purposes.
Recreational fisherman can harvest a limit of one bushel per person per day.