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Biologists express renewed optimism for Peconic Bay scallops

J.D. Allen
/
WSHU
A shellfish nursey in East Hampton, N.Y.
J.D. Allen
/
WSHU
A shellfish nursey in East Hampton, N.Y.

There is renewed optimism for Long Island’s Peconic Bay scallop population, as biologists work on a plan to save the region's aquaculture industry.

Scallop die-offs in Peconic Bay have happened each year since 2019 thanks to warming waters and a microparasite. However, scallops in Moriches Bay off Long Island's south shore, saw an uptick this year.

Biologists with the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program say this could be due to a genetic trait. To find out, they hope to transplant some Moriches scallops into Peconic Bay and see how they hold up.

The idea is to transplant the spawn of 60 to 100 adult scallops, creating a subpopulation in the Peconic.

Long Island aquaculture has taken a major hit since the die-off began. Officials say the industry was valued at $1.5 million in 2018. That dropped to under $100,000 in 2020 and 2021.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.