St. Lawrence species

Deep sea scallop

Placopecten magellanicus

Type of resource

  • Seafood
  • Seafood - molluscs

Status of the resource

  • Not determined

In season

Fresh year round thanks to mariculture.

SIZE : Up to 20 cm in diameter.


LIFE CYCLE : Deep sea scallops reproduce by external fertilisation of their eggs. This takes place between mid-July and the end of August, depending on the region. The scallop larvae develop over 5 weeks before settling to the bottom in the autumn. Scallop growth depends, more particularly, on water temperature, which varies between seasons and depths.

Individuals stick together to form “beds”. Although they tend to be sedentary, they are one of the few molluscs capable of moving around.

Credit : Richard Larocque, photo taken at la Baie de Gaspé, at 25 meters of depth.

The upper valve is reddish-brown. The lower shell is rather white. There are growth rings and grooves on the shell, and a hinge where the two valves meet. The weight of the muscle varies over the year: heavier before reproduction, lighter when spawning in summer. The scallop has eyes and sensory tentacles.

On the seabed, up to 384 m in depth.
It prefers gravel or sandy bottoms.
In cold water. Waters above 20 °C to 23 °C can be deadly for scallops.




Sea stars
Bottom fishes

MACHINES : Digby-type dredge or New Bedford-type dredge and Mariculture.


  • Minimum size of 100 mm
  • Quota
  • Fishing season specified by zone

Commercial Deep sea scallop fishing has existed since 1960 in Quebec. It often complements another type of fishing. Mariculture developed during the 1980s.

Recreational fishing permits are available in autumn for divers who wish to harvest a few scallops. Pick-your-own is prohibited.

Rich in protein, low in fat, a good source of Omega-3 and minerals, as well as vitamin B12, which is good for the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Firm, yet melt in the mouth texture. Lean flesh. The adductor muscle, also known as the meat, and the coral or “roe” are edible. In a fresh scallop, the meat can be eaten raw. They are also delicious browned in a pan.


  • When purchasing :
    • To verify that the scallop is alive, tap lightly on its shell. It should retract.
    • Without the shell, the meat should be shiny and flexible with a pale pink-orange colour.
    • Frozen, it is preferable that the packaging be free of any frost and that it be tightly sealed. If phosphate salts treatment is mentioned, be aware that the scallops will lose much of their water when cooking.
  • Preparation :
    • It is important to remove the membrane and digestive system before cooking.
    • If overcooked, the meat will be tough and rubbery.
    • It is best to add to soups and slow-cooked dishes at the end of cooking time.
    • Do not micro-wave scallops… They might explode.
    • After removing the meat from the shell, rinse under fresh water and blot with a paper towel.
    • Scallops are naturally salty. It is preferable to avoid using salt with the seasonings.

Crédit : Yury Kirienko, photo taken in 2011.