Scallop season is the sweetest time of the year

Brian Nunes-Vais, left, and Steve Baccelli cull legal scallops. — Photo by Michael Cummo

Scallop season has begun to open around the Island, and with the proper shellfish license and equipment, anyone may bring home a sweet dinner.

Scallops are available in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah waters. Recreational and commercial licenses are available at town halls, and the cost varies depending on the type of license and whether you are a resident or a nonresident.

For example, in Chilmark the cost of a residential license is $25, a nonresident license is $50, and a commercial license will set you back $150. In Tisbury, a family permit costs $40 and a nonresident family permit costs $400. Commercial permits are only available to residents, and cost $350.

Recreational permit holders are limited to scalloping once a week. Scallop limits vary by town and license. In Tisbury, a family mess is one bushel basket, which equates to about eight pounds of shucked scallops.

There are two ways to harvest bay scallops: hauling a scallop drag or dip netting. Scallops do not come easy, even in those years when they are abundant. It is physical work, no matter how you cut it. Sore backs and arms are part of the harvest. It is best to learn the proper technique from someone who knows what he or she is doing.