UF/IFAS Extension Shells Out Information on FL Scallop Season
Scalloping season begins July 1st through September 24th. Brittany Hall-Scharf, UF/IFAS Extension Sea Grant Agent in Hernando County, and Dr. Steven Geiger, Research Biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Institute, will be hosting the 2019 Scallop Seminar. The recreational harvest of the Florida Bay scallop is one of Florida’s best summertime activities for residents and visitors of all ages. Learn everything you need to know about scalloping, from the boat to your plate. Participants will be educated on legal regulations, scallop biology, equipment needed, collecting and handling, safe boating and best practices to ensure a safe and fun scallop season for everyone. The event will be held at the UF/IFAS Extension Office Hernando County, 16110 Aviation Loop, Brooksville Florida. Thursday, June 27 at 7:00pm- 8:30pm.
The Florida Bay Scallop is a bivalve mollusk that lives in seagrass beds in relatively shallow water, usually 4 to 10 feet deep. At one time, scallops were reported from as far east as West Palm Beach and as far west as Pensacola. Today, populations can only be found in selected locations along Florida’s west coast—principally St. Joseph Bay, the Steinhatchee area of the Big Bend, and the areas near the Crystal and Homosassa rivers with expansive seagrass beds.
Harvesting is allowed from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal (in Bay County) to the Pasco-Hernando county line (near Aripeka). The bag limit is 2 gallons of whole scallops (in the shell), or 1 pint of scallop meat per person per day. In addition, no more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or 1/2 gallon of scallop meat may be possessed aboard any vessel at any time. You may harvest scallops only by hand or with a landing or dip net. Scallopers must remain in the legal scalloping area while in possession of scallops on the water, including the point where they return to land. Recreational scallopers between the ages of 16 and 65 must have a current Florida saltwater fishing license to collect scallops. There are some exceptions, listed in the FWC “Florida Saltwater Recreational Fishing Regulations,” which is available in bait shops, FWC offices, or at the FWC website (www.myfwc.com). All non-residents over the age of 16 are required to buy a license unless they are fishing (scalloping) from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, party boat) that has a valid vessel license. Most scallopers need a regular saltwater fishing license, but requirements vary with age and residency. Florida residents need a regular saltwater fishing license, unless exempt (scallopers under 16 years of age, residents 65 years of age or older with proof of residency and age, or scallopers on a boat with a valid recreational saltwater fishing license).
To obtain a Florida Bay Scallop brochure and best-practices postcard, please visit the UF/IFAS Extension Office in Hernando County or go online to (www.flseagrant.org/scalloping).
Brittany Hall-Scharf is Hernando County’s Florida Sea Grant & Marine Science Agent with the UF/IFAS Extension Office. She focuses on coastal and marine programs to address issues related to fisheries, coastal habitats & restoration, water quality and sustainable economic resource activities.
UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County is a free service that provides solutions for your life. Extension programs are open to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, or national origin.
UPDATE: FWC added additional clarifications.
- Transit of scallops will be allowed outside the open area this year
- The seasons and open harvest areas have changed. Scalloping is now allowed in Pasco County and there are several parts of the state that don’t open on July 1 (although the date listed is correct for Hernando County, it is not correct for neighboring Pasco).
- Non-residents 16 and older need a fishing license.