Pierless Fish Tours Viking Village in Barnegat Light, NJ

Last week, we were lucky enough to take some of our customers and team here at Pierless Fish to tour one of our major suppliers. Located in southern New Jersey on Long Beach Island, Viking Village is an active dock with boats working with many different types of species and gear here on the East Coast. We were able to see the F/V Elizabeth packing out 100% dry sea scallops and tour the scalloper F/V Ms Manya with captain Pete Dolan. We were also able to speak with captain and owner Mike Johnson of the F/V Sea Farmer, a pelagic longliner preparing for a 6-day trip at sea fishing for primarily swordfish and tuna. Viking Village is also home to other pelagic longliners, many day-trip gillnet boats, and more scallopers, both multi-day and 1-day trip boats. A tour of the facility was provided by Ernie Panacek and other members of their staff, showing us details on grading tuna and scallops, as well as ice production and logistics. A fun, educational experience for everyone, we hope to visit again soon. See some photos of our day:

 

Touring the F/V Ms Manya

Captain Pete Dolan showing us the pilothouse of the F/V Ms Manya

Packing out scallops from the F/V Elizabeth

Grading scallops for size and quality

Speaking with owner/captain Mike Johnson of the F/V Sea Farmer

 

 

Maine Diver Scallops

Inescapable winter weather settles in just as SCUBA divers adventure up to sixty feet below the ocean’s surface, with water temperatures close to freezing and air temperatures close to zero. On December 1, they began their search for sea scallops on the coastal ocean floor of Maine, with the season open only until April.

Over 99% of the entire Atlantic Sea Scallop harvest is collected by offshore dredging, making those scallops caught by divers less that one percent of the annual catch. Due to the geography of Maine’s coastline, many scallop-rich areas are too rocky for dredging, but the water is shallow enough for divers to go down and harvest the product by hand. Of those gathered and sold, most go to residents of the state of Maine, with only a small percentage reserved for out-of-state sale. Buyer beware of many who offer “Maine diver scallops” year round – many are mislabeled, especially if they are whole and live, since only the adductor muscle, or scallop “meat,” is legal to sell in Maine.

Divers only look for large, mature scallops, often by eyeing pale rings of sand that mark the outward motion of the mollusk's two shells. A strategic technique, this leaves both ocean floor environment and still-developing scallop populations unharmed. Because of zero stress, jostling, or friction involved in harvesting, scallops collected by these professional divers are known to have an even more velvety texture than normal, of course also maintaining their rich, sweet quality.

 

December 12, 2014 by Sonja Panacek

Local Peconic Bay Scallops

About eighty miles east of New York City lies the quaint and historical haven of the Peconic Bay. Situated between the North and South forks on the end of Long Island, this ecosystem is mainly fed by the Peconic River, forging an estuary that is now greatly profiting from diligent management practices that have saved it from dissolution.

Historically speaking, the Peconic area provided over eighty percent of New York State's bay scallops. Eutrophication, raised nitrogen levels, and poor management brought on a brown algal bloom in 1985, bringing many species, the bay scallop among them, close to failure.

Not anymore. The locals came together here on Long Island to redefine what it meant to protect and redevelop their resources, putting scallops from Nantucket Bay, off the coast of Massachusetts, on the same level as the now-booming Peconics.

Obviously, we recommend the locally managed and supported fishery about an hour away.

Remarkably sweet, delicate, and popularly consumed raw, Peconic Bay scallops are shucked live and guarded carefully before, during, and after their short trip across Long Island. This local delicacy isn't something you can miss out on.