This is a sexy picture because it is Penobscot Bay, not far from the scallop farming enterprise of PenBay Farmed Scallops. The date is August twenty- something, there is a good breeze, and now our story starts to get really salty.
Maximum salinity is the trigger for scallop spawning. In the farm’s lantern nets the scallop populations are just the right density, not crowded, but cozy. With that good breeze to mix the bay’s water layers for a bounce in water temperatures, the male and female scallops about to release their eggs and sperm into the waters get the message!
The resulting baby scallops, called spat, furnish both the wild waters of the bay and the scallop farm’s spat bags. Bathed in plenty of plankton to eat and safe from predators in the lantern nets, the flourishing scallops will be transferred as they grow from one lantern net to another so they don’t get overcrowded. When the scallops are harvested for our dinner tables, the native wild populations are none the worse for it. You could accurately call it a (lantern) net gain, a truly win-win situation.