Tisbury scallop season curtailed to protect seed

Lagoon Pond will be closed to scalloping in order to protect seed.—Sam Moore

The Vineyard Haven side of Lagoon Pond will be closed to recreational and commercial

scalloping as of Monday, Nov. 5, according to a press release.

The Tisbury Shellfish Department decided to close the scallop harvest soon after the season opened on Oct. 27 in order to protect the large number of immature scallops, or seed.

“On Sunday, the first day anyone was able to get out, the dip netters and draggers all reported the same thing, lots of big seed and very few mature scallops,” Tisbury Shellfish constable Danielle Ewart said in the release.

The department distributed thousands of scallop seed in the Lagoon before the start of the season. A large area around Hines Point was sectioned off to protect the young scallops, but the department reports those shellfish have not yet spawned. The yield of the next scallop season relies on the success of the sexually immature shellfish, therefore the department has concluded it must do all it can to protect them.

According to the release, there is no definitive cause for the poor season. Weather events, water quality, and other environmental factors may have played a part in the lagging scallop harvest.

And Tisbury is not the only town to encounter this issue; other towns have reported this is going to be a poor year for the scallops.

Amandine Hall, executive co-director of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group, said shellfishing seasons are cyclical, just like many other natural phenomena. “If there is lots of seed in the water, it may mean that next season will be better because all the shellfish will be mature by then,” Hall told The Times.