New Efforts by Cornell Cooperative Extension to Fight for Gulf Scallop Survival


To enhance the long-term survival of the East End’s Peconic Bay Scallops, a new project under the Cornell Co-operative’s Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration Program has been initiated.

With the help of The Robins Island Foundation and the Suffolk County Water Conservation and Restoration Program, which has supported CCE’s efforts since 2005, the CCE Marine Program will grow Gulf scallops at CCE’s production hatchery in Southold. We are experimenting with spawning out of season, shifting spawning from summer. drop down.

“The health of the bay, including the scallop fishery, is an important part of the East End and we remain steadfast in our support to protect this fragile and critical ecosystem,” said Robbins Island Foundation executive. Director Ann Collie said, “We are hopeful that the new approach to spawning that CCE is currently deploying will ensure that Peconic Bay Scallops thrive for generations to come, and we are excited about the early success of the project.” I am encouraged by the signs of

Harrison Tobi, CCE’s aquaculture specialist, began working on the organization’s Bay Scallop Recovery Program in April 2021. The importance of bay scallops, especially to the Long He Island region, cannot be overemphasized.

“The goal of this project is to see how autumn spawning affects the mass mortality we’re seeing,” Tobi said.

CCE Hatchery Manager Joshua Perry is working on the Gulf Scallops initiative. (Credit: Melissa Azofeifa)

This new program is in response to four consecutive years of mass mortality in the scallop fishery. Scientists attribute the death to warmer water. This causes not only micro-parasites that attack the scallops, but also low oxygen levels.

Tobi said rising water temperatures have caused scallops to breed, “[allocate] Resources away from basic survival functionality. ” As their energies turn toward procreation, ”[the scallops are] We have lost the ability to cope with stress. ”

“This parasite infects them when they’re very vulnerable, and it’s the perfect storm to harm adult scallops because the water temperature rises and dissolved oxygen drops,” he said. So at least we understand that these stressors are causing mass deaths.”

In October and November, Southold’s CCE production hatchery had two successful spawning rounds, producing approximately 30,000 juvenile scallops.

“The real end goal of all of this is to resurrect scallops as an economically viable species that not only contributes to fall spawning, but can also survive into its second year of harvest. said Tobi.

We want to build everything and do the best job possible to bring all of this to you. [scallops] So that the fishing industry can be revived.

Joshua Perry

In May, Tobi and his team began releasing scallops that spawned last spring and fall into Peconic Bay to compare survival rates, measure mortality, and examine differences in reproductive cycles and parasite loads. increase.

Sample the scallops every two weeks to collect data. He said the results of the study will not be available until October 2023.

CCE’s production hatchery manager, Joshua Perry, is optimistic that these efforts will work.

“I think we can beat this,” he said. “We never want to interfere. We just want to build everything and try to do the best job possible and bring all this together. [scallops] So that the fisheries can come alive again,” he said.

Tobi also hopes the project will lead to future funding.

“The results from this project will not only influence our restoration work, but will also allow us to obtain greater funding from government funding sources to undertake much larger projects in the future. I hope so,” he said.

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