Recreational bay scallop season for Gulf County (includes all of St. Joseph Bay) opens Aug.16 and will remain open through Sept. 15. 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.
Swimming, boating, fishing and scalloping in the restoration area marked with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) buoys south of Black’s Island are prohibited during and after the scallop season.
Bag limits and other regulations
Bag and vessel limits for 2019 throughout the entire bay scallop harvest zone 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 a 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.
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
The FWC urges boaters to be safe when traveling to and from scalloping sites, and while scalloping. Wear a life jacket 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
Don’t forget to stow your trash securely on your vessel so it doesn’t blow out.
Done for the day? Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at svy.mk/bayscallops. You will be asked a series of simple questions about where you harvested scallops, how many you 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.”