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Nov 12, 2019 1:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Global Warming Cited by Environmental Group in Scallop Die-Off

Greg Verity and Sara Miranda shucking the scallops Mr. Verity caught in Orient last week. This year's scallop season has been grim due to a huge scallop die-off.  MICHAEL WRIGHT
Nov 13, 2019 12:23 PM

The Peconic Estuary Program staff issued a statement on Friday suggesting that this year’s catastrophic die-off of adult scallops in the Peconic Bay system may be linked to global warming, which caused high temperatures and low levels of dissolved oxygen in bay waters over the summer.

Meanwhile, it’s hard if not impossible to find scallops in local shops at any price. The Seafood Shop in Wainscott had none on Monday, nor did the Clamman in Southampton, although a person answering the phone there said, “We might have some coming in this afternoon, I don’t know.”

Someone answering the phone at Cor-J Seafood in Hampton Bays said they’d obtained only 15 pounds of Peconic Bay scallops to sell since the season had opened on November 4. “It’s pretty much been a bust,” she said.

An East Hampton resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday that she’d been scalloping in Three Mile Harbor with six other recreational shellfishers, and they’d collected six bushels of scallops altogether.

The Town of East Hampton regularly releases or “seeds” scallops into the harbor that were raised at its shellfish hatchery. The population in the open waters of the Peconic Bay system, which appeared robust early this summer, before the abrupt die-off, is largely the result of natural reproduction.

In its November 8 statement, the PEP staff wrote that “increasing global ocean temperatures and warmer water will be a continuing concern as we begin to feel the effects of a warming climate. Warmer waters are more vulnerable to the effects of nutrient pollution” from leaching in-ground septic systems and other sources.

The PEP staff noted that water temperatures in the bay system reached into the 80s over the summer.

“We at the Peconic Estuary Program are deeply saddened by the scallop die-off that has transpired in the Peconic Bays,” the statement reads. “We have been aware of this situation and are working with our scientific partners to gain a better understanding of why the recent die-off of adult scallop populations occurred.”

The Peconic Estuary Program is a partnership of local, state and federal government agencies, citizens, environmental groups, academic institutions and others set up to encourage measures to protect and preserve the bay system after it was designated one of 28 “national estuaries” in 1992 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Wait, I thought it was "climate change"?
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Nov 13, 19 11:24 AM
It was changed to "climate change" because most people are not intelligent enough to understand the difference between weather and climate. We had a United States Senator bring a snowball into congress and ask how there could possibly be global warming if there's still snow. Regardless of what you want to call it, we will all suffer the consequences. Hope you don't like scallops.
By Enviro Guy (55), Southampton on Nov 13, 19 12:13 PM
Bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) and spearing (Menidia menidia) are bioindicators as they are both particularly sensitive to changes in water quality.

The exhaust from my ridiculously oversized vehicles and buildings, which run on absurdly cheap fossil fuels, smells bad, causes asthma and contributes to anthropogenic climate change.
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Nov 13, 19 11:25 AM
Please explain how the creeks that are adjacent to Peconic Bay had a very good set of scallops for the opening day yet achieve a higher water temp than the open bay.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 13, 19 12:37 PM
Hard to explain an unsubstantiated anecdotal claim. Do you have any evidence of this? Any data on quantities harvested in the creeks? Water temperatures of the creeks compared to the bay? I hope that its true, but science requires facts.
By Enviro Guy (55), Southampton on Nov 13, 19 12:44 PM
There was one harbor in Southampton that did have a healthy population of bay scallops this year. East Hampton Town waters opened for harvest on Sunday and there were a fair amount harvested there as well. These have been the exception this season. I know of no other harbors that experienced die-offs but at the same time, can say that few had any sizable populations of scallops. Two factors may have helped survival in these areas. 1)Shallow waters warm faster so the spawning cycle is earlier. These ...more
By MET (2), Southampton on Nov 13, 19 2:52 PM
2 members liked this comment
What do you get when you dissolve carbon dioxide in water?

The answer is, carbonic acid.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Nov 13, 19 1:40 PM
Are clams affected? Heard there is an abundance of conch. Why the increase?
By auntof9 (159), Southampton on Nov 13, 19 5:00 PM
AND fertilizers for those nice green lawns, road run off, antiquated run off drains, antiquated cesspools, mosquito spraying, pollutants via under ground streams from West and North, huge amounts of chlorine in our drinking water, only so many nails in the coffin. The canary in the coal mine is dead.
By clamdigger (85), Quogue on Nov 14, 19 5:58 AM