Do you have questions about bay scallops? Read the bay scallop FAQ for answers.
What is a scallop? I have never heard of them in Florida.
Bay scallops are bivalve molluscs that occur on Florida's west coast, in localized populations from Florida Bay, in Monroe and Dade counties, to St. Andrew Bay near Panama City. They are bottom dwellers living in 4-8 feet of water. They used to be harvested and sold commercially; now, only recreational anglers can take them during harvest season.
Where and how are scallops fished?
Bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) can be fished in state waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County from July 1 to Sept. 24 each year. The season is opening early in 2014, starting June 28. The bag limit is two gallons of unshucked animals per person per day or one pint of meat per person per day. Recreational harvesters should review current fishing license requirements before collecting bay scallops. To view current state of Florida regulations on harvesting bay scallops, view the article on bay scallop regulations.
Why can't I eat shellfish during a red tide?
"Shellfish" is a generic term used to describe a large number of marine animals-not all of which are affected the same way by red tide. Shellfish, like the bivalve molluscs including mussels, clams, and oysters, should not be eaten if they have been removed from waters containing red tide. As filter feeders, these animals remove large amounts of red tide cells from the water and concentrate the toxin-producing algae in their gut. Other shellfish seafood, such as crabs, shrimp, and lobster, can be eaten because they do not filter-feed and will not retain the toxin. Scallops can be eaten if only the scallop's muscle is eaten, as is normally the case. Scallop stew, which uses the whole animal, should not be eaten.