Shellfishing | Quahogs | Eastern Oyster | Softshell Clams | Bay Scallops

Bay Scallops

Some years, we are fortunate enough to be able to propagate bay scallops. The scallops start in a hatchery where they are selectively chosen for breeding based on color and quality (bay scallops naturally come in a variety of colors, but the bright colors are very rare). From there, they are grown out in lantern nets for us before we get them in Barnstable. The lantern nets act as scallop condos as shown below.


At this point, they are very small and need a little more time to grow before we put them on bottom.


They come in all sorts of beautiful colors too!


Once they have reached the appropriate size, we can transfer them to the Town of Barnstable. They are removed from the lantern nets onto a barge, filled into large fish totes, and loaded up in our trucks. From here we will put them on our boats and plant them at designated locations. These areas were chosen based on historical data of bay scallop presence and current habitat suitability.




After the bay scallops are free planted off the boat, they settle to the bottom where they are free to swim around. They usually don’t move very far so we can go back and check on them to see their growth. In 2014, Natural Resources planted bay scallops in four different areas after careful consideration.


As often as we could, we went back to check on the growth of the bay scallops. A couple of the areas selected have been successful as of the end of 2014.

In only 10 days, we observed a huge amount of growth! Here is a sampling below. If you look at the scallop, you can see a well defined growth ring where the animal was momentarily shocked from being removed from one system and put in another. This caused a new growth ring to form – not to be confused with the well defined annual growth ring making it a legal scallop.


After just three weeks, we saw even more growth added on!

And in five weeks, they continued to grow; in some cases, adding almost an inch. The scallops still appeared skinny, but they were definitely growing.


Natural Resources continues to monitor these sites for growth and suitability. Since bay scallops only live about two years (they spawn and die) and they are harvested just before this happens, we should be able to determine relatively quickly which sites, if any, could possibly support the growout of bay scallops.






Dan Horn
P 508-790-6272
F 508-790-6275
1189 Phinney's Lane
Centerville, MA. 02632

Public Records
Ann Quirk
Public Records Request
Natural Resource Officers


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