By Rebecca Nimerfroh
With Tyler Herrick and Corey Gammill under his wing as his apprentices this season, commercial scalloper Adam Rickleff takes a minute to discuss with us the 2021 scallop season, and talks about the influences of a younger generation out on the water.
Q: How do you feel the 2021 season is going?
Adam: It’s not the best year, but it’s not the worst year. I flew over the harbor by plane before the season started to see where there was eelgrass and where there wasn't, and I noticed that there wasn’t a lot. I think that’s well attributed to the fertilizer and chemicals that people put on their lawns and drain off. When I look at a pipe going out of a nearby house and draining into the ocean, I know it can’t be good for sealife. However, that being said, for me to be able to make it this far into the season and still get five boxes is good. There’s been years where you’re lucky to get a box. Usually, you would see all the scallops get pushed up into a shoulder or bend, but this year they haven’t really been pushed anywhere, except for seed on the beach earlier this season. What are these scallops doing? We don’t know, it’s a mystery.
Q: Do you think the market price of scallops is fair this year?
Adam: Well, say it takes me six hours to get four boxes. It’s still worth it for me, but the price could still go up. I’m not trying to call the distributors out, but the price is not high enough when they’re being sold for $70 a pound in places like New Jersey and Florida. We’d like to see a union built to protect the scallopers. Things need to be changed and I think the changes will happen with the younger generation.
Q: You and your apprentices, Tyler Herrick and Corey Gammill are part of a younger generation of scallopers. What do you think are the positive influences of this younger generation?
Adam: I think the younger generation like myself is willing to be helpful because that’s just who we are. We also have the patience to shut off certain parts of the harbor for a couple years, which is what we’re doing. I think the shellfish warden, J.C. Johnson is doing a great job of explaining all the rules and making it very definite and everyone goes by the book. That’s what we’re hoping for.
Q: Did you grow up scalloping on Nantucket?
Adam: I was born in Indianapolis, but I moved here 20 years ago and started sport fishing on the Just Do It Too, and then became a licensed captain and started my own charter business. I love the island and want to take care of it as much as we can. I do have a good understanding of the fishery and what's going on, and what is being neglected and that's what's sad to me. It's not the ocean’s fault that scallops are going away, it’s human error.
Q: What is your favorite way to prepare scallops?
Adam: I like to lightly saute them in just a little bit of butter - just a flash in the skillet. Never overdone. It sounds plain, but you want to taste the scallop.