The calico scallop supports a small but locally important commercial fishery that is centered on the east coast of Florida.
Until recently, the calico scallop (Argopecten gibbus) fishery was essentially self-regulated and functioned under the guidance of an organization of calico scallop processors called the Calico Scallop Conservation Association (CSCA). The primary mission of the CSCA was to maintain a mutual agreement among the processors to refrain from harvest until at least 75 percent of the target scallop stock had achieved a minimum shell height of 1.5 inch (38 millimeters). Because the fishery relied on efficient processing of the landed product, and CSCA members owned the necessary processing equipment, this agreement proved quite effective in preventing initial harvest of undersized scallops. However, the CSCA was less effective in discouraging harvest of smaller scallops when the supply of large scallops was depleted. At that point, smaller scallops were harvested to keep the processing plants operating at or near capacity.
In 1999, the Florida Marine Fisheries Commission (a predecessor of the FWC) adopted a rule outlawing the harvest of calico scallops if the average number of adductor muscles (meat) in the catch exceeded 250 per pound (550 per kilogram). The intent of that rule was to limit harvest of smaller scallops. The commission also implemented rules that define allowable gear design and usage for calico scallop harvesting. This rule was necessary to ensure trawls used within state waters met the requirements of the net-limitation amendment and calico scallop nets could be exempted from requirements for turtle excluder devices. The definition of allowable areas was required to prevent the use of calico scallop trawls in areas where other trawl fisheries were excluded. Since there wasn’t a size limit, it was essentially set by the FWC for all calico scallops landed within Florida.
To view the most current regulations for the harvest of calico scallops in Florida, please refer to the Florida Administrative Code, Chapter 68B-53.