What is a Scallop?

A scallop is a marine bivalve mollusc of the family Pectinidae.  The name scallop is derived from the old French word escalope, which means "shell."  Scallops are found in all of the world's oceans.  They are highly prized as a food source because they are a low-fat source of protein and are high in selenium and B vitamins.  Atlantic sea scallops (Placopecten Magellanicus) are caught off the North Atlantic coast from Canada to North Carolina. 

 

However, the majority come from the waters off Massachusetts and New Jersey.  Adult Atlantic sea scallops form dense aggregations called "beds" on the ocean floor.  Commercially valuable scallop beds are usually found at depths between 59' and 360'.  Atlantic sea scallops average 6.7 inches in shell height and live an average of 20 years.