Rhode Island DEM Announces Opening of Bay Scallop Season

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A bay scallop, photographed on Rhode Island's shoreline. - E. Zabel, courtesy of URIPROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management announces that the bay scallop harvest season opens at sunrise on Saturday, October 4 and continues until Wednesday, December 31 at sunset. Residents can take up to one bushel of scallops per day without a license, and commercial license holders can take up to five bushels per day/per boat from state waters. Non-license holders cannot offer scallops for sale. Harvesters are reminded that possession of seed scallops is prohibited. Legal scallops possess a defined, raised, annual growth ring.

In an effort to raise public awareness about the importance of protecting scallop seed, DEM marine biologists report that bay scallop densities remain low in comparison to historic levels. Although restoration efforts funded by the North Cape oil spill restoration fund have had some success, marine biologists consider the protection of seed scallops a critical step in preserving these restoration efforts.

To protect scallops and bottom habitats from dredge damage, scallops can be harvested by dip-net only from a boat until November 15 in the following areas: Narrow River, Pawcatuck River, Little Narragansett Bay, Point Judith, and Potter, Green Hill, Charlestown, Quonochontaug, and Winnapaug Ponds. Dredging will be allowed in those areas after November 15 to access remaining adult scallops residing in deeper waters.

Harvesting of shellfish with scuba apparatus is prohibited at all times in Quonochontaug Pond, Ninigret Pond, Green Hill Pond, and Potter Pond.