Season Opens for Dwindling Scallops in Buzzards Bay



NEW BEDFORD – The calendar has turned to October and that marks the opening of the recreational bay scallop harvest season in Buzzards Bay.

The bay scallop population in Buzzards Bay has suffered in part to nitrogen pollution – falling from 70,000 bushels harvested in the 1970s and 80s to just 1,500 bushels today, According to the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

Bay scallops live along eelgrass beds which grow underwater in shallow harbors, coves and tidal rivers. The scallops depend on the eelgrass during reproduction as small juvenile bay scallops attach to the blades before dropping off when they grow large enough.

bay-scallop-graphThe eelgrass requires clear, clean water to grow but increased nitrogen pollution creates algae that turns the water murky and cloudy. The lack of clear water kills the eelgrass which causes the decline of marine life like bay scallops and fish that use the grass for protection from predators.

A documentary on the decline of the Nantucket bay scallop fishery, “The Last Bay Scallop?” will be screened on October 21 at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

A trailer for the documentary can be watched below.

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