These scallops are firm, free of grit and beloved by chefs across Canada.
The way Christian Kreiberg tells it, it sounds like the perfect way to spend an August day in southwestern Nova Scotia. Hailing from BC and Alberta, he and his family were gathered in the province for a two-week reunion with their East Coast relatives. One of the highlights of their stay: a scuba-diving trip to harvest fresh, local scallops for that night’s barbecue.
This was a first-time experience for Kreiberg and clan, who joined three divers on their boat. “Our friends are locals and they did the diving. We came for the ride and to reap the rewards.”
An eight-m (26-ft) open dory served as the dive base and was stocked with diving gear, a cooler full of cold ones and the requisite license from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO). Destination: the prime scallop grounds north of the village of Port Mouton at the seaside adjunct to Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site. (“Keji,” as it’s called, is also known for white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and interpretive tours of 18th- and 19th-century Mi’kmaq petroglyphs).
Wild, hand-picked, ecologically friendly Nova Scotia scallops are firm, free of grit and beloved by chefs across Canada. It took just 45 minutes at seaside Keji for the divers to fill their bags with 100 scallops, the limit per license. Only the muscle is eaten from these succulent, sweet-tasting bivalve mollusks. There’s a DFO regulatory caveat, though: “Scallop meats must be attached to at least one half of the shell until landed.”
Back on shore, Kreiberg said it best: “Cut the muscle from the shell, add a drop of soya sauce and eat it fresh from the shell. Just like sushi.”
For information on licenses, harvest openings, catch limits and other regulations for recreational scallop divers, contact Nova Scotia Fisheries and Aquaculture. Visitors can rent diving gear and buy bags at various dive shops, including Torpedo Rays Scuba in Dartmouth and Halifax.