The two most popular methods of gathering scallops are dredging and diving.
Only those directly involved in gathering the scallops are entitled to a daily limit – that six-month-old baby in the bassinet sleeping peacefully up the front of the boat is not entitled to a slice of the action.
A diver operating from a boat is entitled to gather a daily limit for himself and two crew members on board the boat. Scallops must be measured at the first opportunity, and for divers that means on the bottom before the legal-sized ones go into your catch bag.
Opening scallops is a simple affair and is explained elsewhere. When you have cut the muscle free from the shell, remove the brown ‘frills’ and your scallop is ready for eating.
It is essential to clean your scallops carefully. The brown frills do the same job as a fish’s gills and are highly oxygenated, making them a target for bacteria as soon as the shellfish is dead.
To save any arguments with fisheries officers, take your scallops ashore and clean them. The shells and discarded bits make great berley. Take them out fishing with you and create a tasty berley trail by dropping them over the side intermittently.
Save the bigger shells and scrape them clean of any meat and place in the dishwasher. They make great individual serving dishes for scallop mornay and other seafood delicacies.