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Scallops can be harvested in Niantic Bay this year

New London

NIANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — All you have to do is look at the scallop shell symbol for the town of East Lyme to know just how prominent scallops were in Niantic Bay.

You could also ask Lewis Bull at Hillyer’s Tackle Shop, which has been around for 86 years.

“They would have a person outside just selling scallop permits all day because it was a massive business,” said Bull.

He says many are excited they will be able to harvest scallops this winter which hadn’t happened since 2015, 2011, and at least a decade before that.

“We’ve had people come in and a few to get replacement nets for their scallop gear because it’s been a few years and the nets are rotten or they can’t find them,” said Bull.

Non-commercial harvesters should be able to get permits by December sixth at Hillyer’s, as well as at the Waterford and East Lyme Town Halls for the month-long scallop season beginning December 15th.

But this harvest will be limited two gallons a day.

Even though the catch limit is a lot smaller than it used to be, a lot of people are expected to do some scalloping next month, even just for the nostalgia of it.

“They’re still gonna go just because you have to, especially if you grew up around here,” said Bull.

“They are the most delicious scallops,”said Barbara Jacobsen of Niantic.

There are many theories about why there’s enough scallops to harvest this year and why there wasn’t for so many years, but most don’t hold water.

“They thought it was the lack of eelgrass but if you go back to the thirties there was no eelgrass and some of the biggest bumper years ever,” said Bull.

Many are just grateful they’ll be able to taste what they say were world famous scallops again.

“I didn’t think I’d live to see another season and I’m glad I did,” said Bull.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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