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The East Hampton Star. (East Hampton, N.Y.) 1885-current, September 15, 1977, Image 16

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Persistent link: http://nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn83030960/1977-09-15/ed-1/seq-16/

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SIXTEEN THE EAST HAMPTON STAR, EAST HAMPTON, N.Y., SEPTEMBER 15, 1977 JAMES LESTER always gets ready for scalloping, but he’ll stick with fishing as long as he can. Susan Pollack Praying For Scallops After a poor spring and summer of fin-fishing, local baymen “are praying for a good scalloping season to get them through the winter,” according to Arlene Creaser, the wife of an Ama- gansett trapfisherman. Mrs. Creaser’s husband George pulled out his traps earlier this month and began filling in when he could on a haulseining crew, all the while pre­ paring his dredges and scalloping boat for another season. When State waters open for com­ mercial harvesting on Monday it appears likely that a great many baymen will be trying to get their legal limits of ten bushels of scallops each, or 20 a boat. But baymen, officials, and pro­ prietors of the Town’s seafood houses expressed concern about the effects of last year’s severe winter upon this season’s scallop crop. Many of the bug or undersize scallops which inhabit the shoal areas of Town as well as State waters and which would have been ready for harvesting this fall were probably killed by severe “anchor frosts,\ they said. Northwest Unpromising The outlook in Northwest Harbor, a favored spot for local boats during the opening of the State season, is not promising, according to Jack Conklin and Robert Peters, the Town’s two Bay Constables, and Thomas Field, presi­ dent of the Town Baymen’s Associa­ tion. Mr. Field said he had received a report that scallop stocks in State waters to the west were sparse as well. Mr. Conklin, on the other hand, said he had heard scallops “Up Bay, in the deeper water of Noyac and Peconic, were thicker.” With regard to Northwest, Mr. Conklin said he brought up about ten to 12 scallops a dredge from a “test-tow” near Camp St. Regis on Monday. At the start of a good season, “I should have been bringing up to three- quarters of a peck or better,” he maintained. A more promising note was sounded by Bruce MacMillan, chief of the State Department of Environmental Conser­ vation’s bureau of shellfisheries. While 1977 “would probably not be a banner year,” he said, 1978 might be. “There was a tremendously successful set of bug or juvenile scallops this year,” he said, some of which, weather per­ mitting, might even be ready for harvesting by midwinter. Annual Growth Ring Under State regulations, scallops must be two-and-one-quarter inches from lip or hinge or bear the annual growth ring. Town requirements are that scallops show the annual growth ring. A similarly large set of young scallops was reported in the shoal areas of Town waters where, except in Lake Montauk, baymen reported seeing few mature specimens. Town waters which also include Three Mile and Napeague Harbors and Accabonac and Northwest Creeks, open for commercial harvest­ ing of up to ten bushels a person or 15 a boat on Oct. 18 and for the limited harvesting of up to one bushel on Oct. 1. Signs of a poor scallop harvest in Town waters were spotted late last winter by another bayman, Milton Miller, who is also a Democratic candidate for Bay Constable. When, after the ice in inland waters broke up, Mr. Miller went out, he reported seeing “a lot of dead baby scallop shells in the shoals.” Bugs in the deeper water were probably all that survived, he said, which would make the upcoming scallop season a short one, possibly shorter than last year’s. Hardly Worthwhile Scallops can be harvested in both Town and State waters until April 1. But it was hardly worthwhile to work after the freeze last winter, said Mr. Miller, “because it took so long to separate the live from the dead” bivalves. When in December, before the inland waters became icebound, a- nother baymen, James Lester, stopped scalloping to work on his trap boat and gear, it was taking a full day to bring in four to five bushels of scallops, he said. Last winter was the first in some time, reported Mrs. Helen Vorpahl of Stuart’s Market, “that we didn’t have any scallops to freeze.” She added, “There wasn’t much to begin with. We had enough for our regular customers. But we generally freeze for restaurants for the summer and we had none to freeze.” Stuart’s is selling Virginia bay scal­ lops until the start of the local season. The Virginia bays wholesale for about $27.90 for an eight-pound gallon, or $3.10 a pound. Opening Prices , Scallopers were receiving $1.90 a pound at the start, and $3.10 at the close of last season, said Mrs. Vorpahl. Depending upon supply and demand, “chances are opening prices to scal­ lopers this year will be in the $2 to $2.50 a pound range,” she added, with retail prices about 80 per cent higher. If predictions of scarcity are correct, agreed Stephen Dellapolla Sr., who has an opening house on the Montauk Highway, Amagansett, opening prices for scallops should be higher. Still, Mr. Dellapolla said he planned again to hire about six part-time openers, as did Mrs. Thomas Bennett, who with her husband, operates an opening house to the west of the Dellapollas. The DEC also reported that despite predictions of a small scallop yield, it had issued about as many annual $10 opening house permits this year as it had in the past. It did not, however, receive the “usual” influx of applica­ tions for $7.50 yearly diggers’ permits this fall as it had in the past, according to Mr. MacMillan. Town diggers’ per­ mits are $2 annually. Transplanting Mr. Miller was to have asked the Town Trustees Tuesday evening for permission to transplant this year's set of bug scallops from the shoal to the deeper areas of Town waters. He and others on a committee formed at a Baymen’s Association meeting last February have been exploring the feasibility of moving the bugs with dredges and power boats into the deeper water. The project should be done in the next weeks while the waters are cool and before there is a freeze, maintained Mr. Miller. Some scallops would be lost in the move, said Mr. Miller, “but it’s better than losing them all” to another severe winter. Mr. Miller and others on the com­ mittee are proposing to do the job on their own time and without pay. However, funds for such a project are also included in a $20,000 shellfish program which Councilman Larry Cantwell recently submitted for in­ clusion in the Town’s 1978 budget. Asked Friday about Mr. Miller’s proposal, Mr. Cantwell said it seemed “a step in the right direction.” Scalloping traditionally has been a source of winter income to baymen, enabling them to provide for their families and on bad days to work on their gear for the spring fishing season. In years when fishing has been better haulseiners and trapfishermen have kept at it until Thanksgiving relying on the income from scalloping later. “I always get ready for scalloping,” Mr. Lester said while mending his dredges on Friday, “but if fishing is good, I plan to lift trap every day.” Susan Pollack Yo, Ho, Ho, Etc. TWO OLD SALTS, Charles J. Urstadt, left, of Amagansett, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority, and E. Virgil Conway, right, of Montauk, president of the Seamen’s Bank for Savings, were on hand in suitable attire for Saturday’s sailing of the Battery Park City Yacht Race, known in the days when Abe Beame and Hugh Carey were on speaking terms as the Governor’s Cup. Seamen’s Bank donated the trophy. Photo Communications

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