Nantucket Bay Scallop Information and History

To take advantage of the October recreational scalloping season (no commercial scalloping permitted until November), you need a recreational shellfish license from the Town.  Check out the Town website  for fees and restrictions.  Permits are available at the Public Safety Building at 4 Fairgrounds Road.


Family Scalloping, or Recreational Scalloping, is a unique Nantucket tradition.  Anyone can do it!


You'll need waders or a wet suit, a push rake, an inner tube and a bushel basket, plastic or wire, and for some, waterproof gloves to ward off the chill and the calluses.  If you plan to open them yourself, you'll need an opening knife as well.  For equipment you visit Brant Point Marine at 32 Washington St. next to the Town Pier.  They will outfit you with everything you need.


Most importantly, you need to know that you can only take scallops that show a raised, well-defined growth ring on their shell and/or are 2.5 inches in height from the bottom of the shell to the top.  Shellfish wardens will be out in force checking your catch.  Do not take small scallops, as they are next year's crop.


There is a Limit!

One bushel per license per week.  Bay scallops must have a well-defined raised growth line to be legally harvested. Scalloping permitted Wednesday to Sunday only.


Growth rings on Nantucket bay scallops

Identify a Growth Ring!

How to Open a Scallop

Nantucket Scalloping by Whit Haynes

© Nantucket Shellfish Association