Massive Peconic Bay die-off putting strain on scallop season

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The Peconic Bay scallop season just opened, but it's already being called a bust.

The bad news has spread quickly on the East End -- there has been a massive die-off of scallops. Long Island scientists point to climate change and high water temperatures of 80+ degrees as the reason for the disappointing draw.

They also say this summer, there was an influx of different marine predators that eat scallops.

Many people who spoke to News 12 compare the decimation of the bay scallops to the brown tide die-off of the 1980s and 1990s. Some even say the die-off is part of the natural life cycle of the bay scallops.

Charlie Manwaring, who owns the Southold Fish Markets, says not only is the die-off alarming, it's costly to those who make a living on the water.

"I'm worried about it. Scallops are big business out here for both sides of the South Fork and the North Fork -- it's a scary situation, it's one more product that we don't have to sell," says Manwaring.

Last year, shops had lines out the door for scallops, but now things are set to change. Several customers were met with disappointment already on Wednesday.

"I remember lots and lots of scallops ... back in the day guys would go out and get their 10 bushels in nothing flat. Those days are gone," says Bob Mills, of Greenport.

 

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