Time to head over to St. Joe Bay!
The recreational harvest season for bay scallops begins July 1 and continues through Sept. 10. Open scalloping areas on Florida’s Gulf coast extend from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the Pasco-Hernando county line near Aripeka.
You can take bay scallops only within the allowable harvest areas. It is illegal to possess bay scallops while you’re in or on state waters outside the open harvest areas, or to land bay scallops outside the open areas.
There is a daily limit of 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person during the open season. In addition, no more than 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or one-half gallon of bay scallop meat may be possessed aboard any vessel at any time.
You are allowed to harvest bay scallops only by hand or with a landing or dip net, and bay scallops may not be harvested for commercial purposes.
Unless otherwise exempt, you will need a regular Florida saltwater fishing license when using a boat to harvest scallops. If wading from shore, starting Aug. 1, you will need a regular Florida saltwater fishing license or the new shore-based license.
Divers and snorkelers are required to display a “divers-down” flag (red with a white diagonal stripe) while in the water. Boaters must stay at least 100 feet away from a divers-down flag in a river, inlet or channel. In open waters, boaters must stay 300 feet away from a divers-down flag. For more information on divers-down flag requirements, click here
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission encourages you to adhere to scallop fishing regulations and collect only the amount of bay scallops you are willing to clean.
More information on bay scallops is available online, click here
To read a related story about St. Joseph’s Peninsula click here