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Likely Scallop Die-Off Raises Concerns On Long Island

Robert F. Bukaty
Scallop meat ready to be shucked

Scallop season started this week, but fisheries on eastern Long Island say scallops in the Peconic Bay may have died off over the summer.

Roger Tollefsen, former executive director of the New York Seafood Council, an industry group in the Hampton Bays, says scallops depend on nutrients in the water to survive.

Harmful algal blooms can diminish the population, but Tollefsen says that some algae can help create a healthier ecosystem.

“We should be nurturing the good algae in our bays as opposed to simply trying to eliminate the ones which we call harmful.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation will monitor the harvest to determine if the scallop season needs to be cut short to allow the shellfish to recover.

Kim Tetrault, Community Aquaculture Specialist and Director of SPAT (Suffolk Project in Aquaculture Training) with the Cornell Cooperative Extension says the mortality of adult scallops this year is most likely due to water temperatures being in a lethal range (84 degrees) for a period of time. He does not believe it due to algae. He also says due to the 18 month lifespan of  the scallop, shortening the season would have no effect.


Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.