"The Shellstar" is the Scallop Program's custom built pontoon barge.

Tettelbach bay scallop
Image by Stephen Tettelbach

Peconic Bay Scallop

Image by Mike Patricio

Peconic Bay Scallop

Peconic Bay Scallop Restoration Program

In 2005, Cornell Cooperative Extension's Marine Program and Long Island University partnered with Suffolk County to restore the renowned Peconic Bay Scallop. Brown tide algal blooms from the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s had nearly driven the bay scallop to local extinction, yet despite the absence of brown tide blooms after 1995 scallop populations did not recover on their own over the next 12 years. The goal of our “Restoration of Peconic Bay Scallop Populations and Fisheries” program was to use science-based restoration techniques to jump-start populations - by planting large numbers of hatchery-reared scallops at high densities to ensure a high probability of fertilization success upon spawning. In this way, we theorized that much higher numbers of scallop larvae would boost adult population sizes and help to rebuild the commercial fishery – historically one of the most important in Long Island waters. This is exactly what happened. Since 2006, we have planted more than 8 million scallops in lantern nets suspended in midwater and via free-planting to the bay bottom. Scallop populations increased dramatically through 2018, with a cumulative economic benefit of >$8 million to baymen and >$60 million to the regional economy.

In the midst of mass die-offs of adult scallops throughout the Peconic Bays in 2019 and 2020, we continue to grow and plant scallops as well as investigate causes and potential mitigation of these scallop mortality events. 

 Learn more!

Help us expand our efforts to the rest of the Peconic Estuary!

Donate Now! Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

BY MAIL: Please make checks payable to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (and put 'Scallop Program' in memo line).

Send to:

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County
ATTN: Marine Department
423 Griffing Avenue, Suite 100
Riverhead, New York 11901-3071

BY PHONE: Call the Marine program office at (631) 727-7850, ext. 326 to make your gift! Thank you!
Visa and MasterCard are accepted


Christopher F. Smith
Senior Educator • Natural Resources

Last updated February 11, 2021