It’s official: Scallop season begins July 1 in local waters

Scallop season runs from July 1 to Sept. 24.

Recreational bay scallop season for Franklin through the northwestern portion of Taylor, as well as Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties opens July 1 and will remain open through Sept. 24. This includes Carrabelle, Lanark, St. Marks, Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa.

Do not discard scallop shells in inshore waters commonly used for recreational activities such as the Homosassa River or Crystal River.

Piles of discarded scallop shells can create hazards for swimmers and damage seagrass habitat. Scallop shells can be discarded in trash receptacles or in larger bodies of water where they are more likely to disperse.

Bag limits and other regulations

Bag and vessel limits for 2019 through 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 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” then the “Crabs, Shrimp and Shellfish” tab.

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 and do not discard empty scallop shells in the Hernando or Crystal rivers.

Citizen Science

Done for the day? Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey atsvy.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 emailBayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.

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

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