The recreational bay scallop season opened in some Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) June 28, three days earlier than the season was slated to start. The portion of Gulf state waters is from the Pasco-Hernando county line north and west to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. The season will remain open through Sept. 24.
Gov. Rick Scott asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to open the 2014 season early to provide additional opportunities to Florida’s residents and visitors who flock to the coast to partake in this activity. The season is an economic draw to the coastal counties within the open region. This change is not expected to harm the scallop population.
All size limits and bag limits remain the same. Scallops cannot be taken ashore outside of the open area. There is no commercial harvest for bay scallops in Florida.
Divers are encouraged to stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag when scalloping in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag if on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed.
More information is available from MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”