Beginning July 1st, Florida’s state waters will be open for bay scallop harvest. This scalloping season will be twelve times as long as 2017’s, thanks to healthier scallops in the Gulf.
In 2016, biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee initiated a ten year plan to restore bay scallops in the Florida panhandle. Michelle Kerr with the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute says over the next decade, officials are aiming to increase depleted scallop populations and reintroduce scallops to bays.
“FWC Biologists placed wild and hatchery raised scallops in cages in bays. These cages protect scallops from predation and likely increase the number of offspring produced," says Kerr.
The Commission has also had the assistance of the Saint Joe's Bay community through the 'scallop sitting' program, where volunteers are raising scallops off of their personal docks.
Harvesters are limited to two gallon bags per person, and must obtain a Florida saltwater fishing license to recreationally scallop in the Gulf. The season will end September 24th.