Bay scallop season opens Aug. 16 in St. Joseph Bay/Gulf County
Recreational bay scallop season for Gulf County (including all of St. Joseph Bay) opens Aug.16 and will remain open through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.
Scalloping, possession of scallops, anchoring or tampering with restoration activities is prohibited during and after the scallop season in the restoration area marked with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) buoys south of Black’s Island.
Additional bay scallop season dates are as follows:
Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark and St. Marks): July 1 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County to the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County.
The remaining portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County (including Keaton Beach and the Steinhatchee area): June 15 through Labor Day. This region includes all state waters east of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County and north of Alligator Pass daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County.
Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 1 through Sept. 24. This region includes all state waters from the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County to the Hernando – Pasco county line.
Pasco County: Open for 10 days starting the third Friday in July (July 17-26, 2020). This region includes all state waters south of the Hernando – Pasco county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse including all waters of the Anclote River.
Bag limits and other regulations
Bag and vessel limits are 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or a 1/2 gallon (4 pints) bay scallop meat per vessel. Vessel limits do not allow an individual to exceed their personal bag limit.
Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net.
There is no commercial harvest of bay scallops allowed in Florida.
Direct and continuous transit of legally-harvested bay scallops is allowed through closed areas. Boaters may not stop their vessels in waters that are closed to harvest and must proceed directly to the dock or ramp to land scallops in a closed area.
For information on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops” under the “Crabs, Lobster and other Shellfish” tab.
Boater and scalloper safety
Be safe when diving for scallops. Wear a life jacket when underway and do not drink and boat. When scalloping in open water, divers should stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag or device, and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag or device if on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag or device in open water or within 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Boating/Regulations and click on “Divers-down Warning Devices.”
Stow it, don’t throw it
Please do not discard scallop shells in inshore waters commonly used for recreational activities such as near boat ramps or swimming areas. Piles of discarded scallop shells can create hazards for swimmers and damage seagrass habitat. Scallop shells can be discarded in a trash receptacle or in larger bodies of water where they are more likely to disperse.