Recreational bay scallop season opens Monday


A pile of scallops wait to be cleaned at the Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee in this July 3, 2012 file photo.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 24, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.

It appears that the 2012 scalloping hotbed area of Homosassa will again be the place to harvest the succulent bivalve mollusks this summer.

In the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's annual pre-harvest survey of bay scallops, the average number of scallops observed doubled in Homosassa and St. Joseph Bay and increased slightly in Steinhatchee. The St. Marks average decreased substantially from June 2012, which was most likely due to effects from Tropical Storm Debby.

The recreational bay scallop season will open Monday, July 1, in Gulf of Mexico state waters (from shore to 9 nautical miles) from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. The season ends Sept. 25.

There is no commercial harvest for bay scallops in Florida state and federal waters. Scallops cannot be taken ashore outside of the stated harvest area.

Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net. The bag limit is two gallons of whole bay scallops or one pint of meat per person, per day, with a vessel limit of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops or a half-gallon of meat.

The FWC encourages scallop divers to stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed flag on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed.

Harvesters can indicate where they harvest scallops, how many they collect and how long it takes to harvest them by completing a survey at http://svy.mk/bayscallops.

Participants also can email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.

To learn about required licensing and more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”

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