Bay scallop season to close Sept. 25 in several areas

florida bay scallops

Hannah Hatch shared her scalloping photos with us via Facebook. Send us yours!

Recreational bay scallop season harvest will close Sept. 25 in Gulf County through northwest Taylor County, and in Levy through Hernando counties. The last day harvest will be open is Sept. 24. Once these areas close, scallop harvest will not reopen until the 2021 season, the dates of which are noted below.

For information on bay scallop regulations, visit MyFWC.com/Marine and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops” under the “Crabs, Shrimp and Shellfish” tab.

Bag limits

The daily bag limits in these areas 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 1/2 gallon (4 pints) bay scallop meat per vessel. Vessel limits do not allow an individual to exceed their personal bag limit.

Bay Scallop Season Dates

2020 Regional Bay Scallop Seasons

Additional bay scallop season dates are as follows:

  • St. Joseph Bay/Gulf County: Aug. 16 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.
  • 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.

Other Regulations

Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net.

There is no commercial harvest allowed for bay scallops in Florida.

Direct and continuous transit of legally-harvested bay scallops is now 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/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”

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.

Citizen Science

Done for the day? Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at svy.mk/bayscallops. Harvesters can indicate where they harvested scallops, how many they collected and how long it took to harvest them. Participants can email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.

Learn more about long-term abundance trends in the open and closed scalloping areas by visiting MyFWC.com/Research and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Bay Scallops” and “Bay Scallop Season and Abundance Survey.”

Not sure what to do with your haul?

Here are some recipes for your fresh scallops!

Big Bend Seafood Rolls
Seafood Mac and Cheese Recipe
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