UPDATE (9/20/2017): The Gulf County bay scallop season will open to harvest Sept. 23. The 2017 season was postponed earlier this year due to a naturally occurring algae bloom (Pseudo-nitzschia) in St. Joseph Bay that affects shellfish. Recent samples have indicated that the scallops in St. Joseph Bay are safe for human consumption and meet FDA requirements for opening harvest in the bay. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will continue testing of the bay.

The 2017 season will be open for 16 days, with the last day of harvest being Oct. 8 and closing Oct. 9. This season opening includes all state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. All other regulations apply.

The scallop population in Gulf County is also still recovering from a 2015 red tide.  Restoration efforts are underway in the southeast area of the bay south of Black’s Island. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area marked with FWC buoys is prohibited. The recent Pseudo-nitzschia algal bloom is not expected to impact the scallop population.


Workshops Scheduled in October. Provide input on this fishery. Workshop information.

 

Scallop

Bay Scallop: Argopecten irradians

Florida Recreational Regulations

Harvest areas 

(see map below for details on harvesting areas)
Gulf County, including St. Joseph Bay (Zone 1) Fenholloway River to Suwannee River (a portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County) (Zone 2)

All other areas open to the harvest of bay scallops (Zone 3)

Open Season

Season postponed. News Release

June 16 - Sept. 10, 2017  July 1 - Sept. 24, 2017 
Daily Bag Limit

2 gallons whole bay scallops in shell, or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person

Maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel

Minimum Size Limit  None 

 

Bay Scallop Harvest Zones:

2017 Scallop Zone Map

 Bay scallops may only be harvested in state waters from the following zones:

Zone 1 (Gulf County, including St. Joseph Bay): Includes all state waters from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the western-most point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. SEASON POSTPONED

Zone 2 (Fenholloway River to Suwannee River, including a portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County. This includes the communities of Dekle Beach, Keaton Beach and Steinhatchee.): Includes all state waters south and east of Rock Island, near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County (Northern Boundary Map) through and north of the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County (Southern Boundary Map).

Zone 3 (all other areas open to the harvest of bay scallops): Includes all state waters from the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County to Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County and from the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County to the Hernando-Pasco county line.

 Northern Taylor County scallop zone boundary map

Dixie County scallop zone southern boundary map

It is illegal to possess bay scallops on waters outside open harvest areas or during the closed season. It is also illegal to land scallops outside open harvest areas. For example, it would be legal to take scallops from waters off the Hernando County coast, but it would be illegal to dock your boat in Pasco County with the scallop catch onboard. It would also be illegal to transport scallops harvested in zone 2 across zone 3 waters prior to the July 1 zone 3 season opening.

Gear Requirements:

  • Legal Gear: Harvest permitted only by hand or by using a landing or dip net

Commercial harvest prohibited.

Recreational harvesters need a Florida saltwater fishing license to harvest bay scallops unless they are 1. exempt from needing a license or 2. have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and are wading from shore to collect scallops (i.e. feet do not leave bottom to swim, snorkel, or SCUBA and harvesters do not use a vessel to reach or return from the harvest location).  

Links to more Bay Scallop information:



FWC Facts:
Florida Bass Conservation Center volunteers can assist biological staff in all aspects of fish culture and center management.

Learn More at AskFWC