Sea scallops are harvested by vessels with scallop dredges or bottom trawls. The boats are usually 40' to 100' in length, like the Kathryn Marie and Hunter. Both of our boats drag a heavy metal ring mesh net known as a dredge across the ocean bottom. The metal rings that make up the mesh are 4" or larger to allow juvenile scallops to pass through. We shuck scallops on board the boat. The shell and the entrails are discarded and become food for other ocean species. Only the adductor muscle is kept.
By far the largest wild scallop fishery is for Atlantic sea scallops. The Atlantic sea scallop fishery is important to the U.S. economy, but extremely important to the New England states. In 2020, more than 50 million pounds of Atlantic sea scallops worth over $500 million were harvested in U.S. waters.
For the retail market, sea scallops are categorized by size.
There are three primary classifications:
U/10 indicates that the scallop meats are large and have under 10 scallop meats to the pound
10/20 indicates medium scallops, between 10 and 20 scallop meats to the pound
20/30 indicates smaller scallops, between 20 and 30 scallop meats per pound