All fish and wildlife populations fluctuate. It is just a fact of nature. Just because there were millions of North Atlantic sea scallops all along our coast a few years ago doesn’t guarantee it will stay that way. In fact, we are witnessing a significant downturn in the scallop population as we speak.
Next year’s quota, or Total Allowable Catch, starts April 1, 2023, and is 25 million pounds. That may sound like a lot of scallops, but when you consider the quota in 2019 (close to 60 million pounds), it represents a 60% cut in harvest from just three years ago.
As the population declines, there are fewer and fewer big scallops (U/10’s & U/12’s) available, hence more than a $10 per pound difference in the price of U/10’s and 10/20’s. Locally, the Elephant’s Trunk, 30 miles east of the Ocean City, Maryland inlet, will be closed all next year to scallop harvesting to allow those scallops to grow.
The bottom line is that there will be sea scallops available in 2023, but prices will remain high, and the vast majority of scallops landed will be 10/20 count or smaller.
Prices are subject to change.