Sea Scallop by Digby Dredge

Bay of Fundy — Upper Bay Fleet


Sea Scallop


Aug 05 - Sep 30

Digby Dredge

Fish harvesters drag a tow bar attached to metal chain-link baskets along the seafloor to catch sea scallops. This dredge stirs up the scallops from the seabed, which then are scooped into the baskets. 

Harvesting Method

Digby Dredge

Known as the “Digby drag,” this rock dredge consists of a dozen metal chain-link baskets with a cumulative width of 16 feet (5 metres). It is attached to a tow bar by a cable that allows the dredge to be lowered and towed along the rocky bottom of scallop beds. The dredge is towed at low speed for about 20 minutes and then hauled up. The contents of the baskets are dumped onto a sorting deck fitted to the back of the vessel. Crew sort through the large rocks and pebbles to find scallops. The shellfish are shucked aboard the vessel and stored on ice in burlaps sacks. Unwanted species are returned to the ocean.

Digby Dredge

The Bay of Fundy is divided into six Scallop Fishing Areas (plus a seventh area outside the bay) and three distinct fishing fleets. The “Upper Bay” fleet consists of 16 vessels, ranging in size from 30 to 45 feet (9 to 14 metres) and licensed to fish in the upper section of the Bay of Fundy. 

Conservation Measures

Scallop dredges disturb habitat when dragged along the seabed, and impacts vary by sediment type. Undersized and unwanted species (bycatch) are also unintentionally caught.

The sea scallop fishery is managed by effort control, which involves limits to size of mesh, size of scallops and number of vessels. A number of measures address conservation in the fishery. These include:

  • a limit to the number of licensed vessels in each of the three fleets
  • a minimum shell height of 75 mm and blended meet count restriction of 45 scallops per 500 g to limit the harvesting of immature scallops.
  • a minimum ring size on dredge baskets of 3.25 inches (82 mm) to prevent the harvesting of immature scallops.
  • limitation to the width of the tow bar at 5.5 metres.
  • seasonal and area closures to protect habitat.
  • vessel monitoring system on vessels
  • fish harvester required to keep a daily logbook of estimated catch.

In this lobster fishing area, fish harvesters actively participate in scientific data collection and research such as:

  • a comprehensive data collection system on catches
  • scientific sampling of lobsters at sea
  • maintaining catch logbooks and scientific field notebooks

Bay of Fundy


Ocean Wise - Not Recommended

SeaChoice - Some Concerns

Seafood Watch - Good Alternative


Aug 05 - Sep 30


The Department of Fisheries and Oceans manages this fishery through the Maritimes Region.


For the most recent scallop stock status, check the Department of Fisheries and Ocean’s science advisory reports.

Quality and Handling

Scallops are all hand shucked as they are caught and the abductor muscle (scallop meat) is rinsed in salt water and transferred to a clean burlap sack that allows the meat to breath. They are then placed on ice to await being sold to the buyer at the end of the day or taken home by the fishermen who may then freeze them in one-pound bags to be sold locally or to restaurants.  


Food Info Sea Scallop


  • Colour: opaque white to pale beige to creamy pink
  • Texture: very fleshy meat which is lean and firm in texture
  • Flavour: A sweet, mild taste
  • Perfect serve: Scallops are particularly popular as an appetizer, often wrapped in bacon and quickly grilled. To make the most of the distinctive sweet flavour of scallops, pan sear them quickly till just brown and slightly crusty on the outside and still tender in the middle. Serve with a light, not overpoweringly flavoured, sauce: lemon-butter or white wine and herb come to mind. Be careful not to overcook them as they toughen up easily.