Seafood dishes and fishermen's paychecks will get a little sweeter in North Carolina this winter.
For the first time since a 2006 moratorium on bay scallop fishing, fishermen can harvest the tender mollusks in Bogue Sound and inner coastal waters south to the South Carolina line. North Carolina's bay scallop fishing season will open Monday and run through April 1.
Although bay scallops are a small part of the commercial fishing harvest in the state, they are a high-value product known for being more sweet and tender than sea scallops.
Fishermen look forward to harvest season because it comes at a time when their business has slowed, said Mike Marshall, manager of the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries central district in Morehead City. People on the coast also enjoy bay scallop season because unlike other shellfish that are shucked and sold to retailers across the nation, bay scallops caught in North Carolina tend to stay here.
"Probably more than any other fishery that I have been involved with, there is a lot of cultural heritage involved in that fishery," he said. "It is amazing to see how invested people are."
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National Fisherman Live: 12/16/14
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