Scallops (Placopecten magellanicus)

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Biology: Atlantic sea scallops are found from Newfoundland to North Carolina, mainly on Georges Bank, the Gulf of Maine, and the Atlantic Bight. Scallops are the only mobile bivalve: they are able to swim short distances by clapping their shells together. Scallops are filter feeders, consuming plankton from the water column, and are preyed upon by flounder, cod, lobsters, crabs, and sea stars. Scallops can live as long as 20 years, but do most of their growing in the first few years of life. Their age can be assessed by counting the concentric rings on their shells. Scallops may be male, female, or both, and some of them start out life as males and turn into females later. Scallops have numerous eyes along the rim of their shells. These eyes do not enable them to make out shapes, but can detect light and motion.

Sustainability status: New England scallop stocks are healthy. Fishing areas are periodically rotated to allow scallop beds to replenish themselves. More information is available here.  

Harvest: Scallops are harvested by dredging. The Atlantic sea scallop fishery is the largest scallop fishery in the world and of high economic importance in New England. In 2009, the sea scallop fishery brought $382 million into the New England economy.

Nutritional facts: Scallops are a good source of protein, selenium, and B vitamins. A 100-gram portion of scallops contains 16.78 grams of protein, 27.2 mcg selenium, 88 calories, 0.78 grams of fat, 33 mg cholesterol, and 161 mg sodium.


Available fresh or frozen, year round.


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