Scallop season began on Sunday December 2 and runs through March 20. With new management measures in place, including closed areas, limited access to other areas, and reduced fishing days, the harvest may be lower this year and prices may be higher. Neither factor should be a deterrent to seeking out Maine scallops this season; it just means they are extra special.
Another reason to pursue scallops is that another local winter specialty, Northern shrimp, won’t be as abundant this year given that fisheries managers severely restricted the season to protect the resource.
Scallops can live as long as twenty years or more. In contrast, shrimp have a maximum age of five years. The shorter life cycle means shrimp populations tend to fluctuate more from year to year. Maine shrimp are also creatures of Arctic and sub-Arctic waters; they are at the very southern edge of their range in the Gulf of Maine, and warming ocean temperatures in likely affecting them as well.
To satisfy those shellfish cravings his holiday season, hunt down some local scallops and fill the void with lobster and crab. Save those shrimp recipes for the brief shrimp season in the depth of winter—it will give you something to look forward to in January and February. Eat Maine seafood, stay safe, and have a peaceful holiday season.