Recreational bay scallop season for Gulf County, including all of St. Joseph Bay, will open Aug. 16 through Sept. 15.
The bay scallop season will be opening in all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to St. Vincent Island.
However, according to a news release, there is a prohibited area scallopers and others seeking recreation on the water must be aware of:
“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.”
Those participating in the scallop season will need to be aware of this, and other regulations.
Among regulations are bag limits. These are restrictions on the number of bay scallops people are allowed to harvest.
This season it’s two gallons of bay scallops in the shell or one pint of scallop meat per person, with a per vessel limit of 10 gallons of bay scallops in the shell or a one-half gallon of scallop meat.
The FWC also cautions boaters to be safe in addition to knowing these rules.
Standard safety protocols for scalloping include wearing a life jacket, ensuring divers keep within 300-feet of “divers-down” flags displayed to tell other boaters where people are in the water, and never consuming alcohol while operating a boat.
If you’ve completed your safe scalloping trip you can help researchers collect data on bay scallops by filling out a simple survey.
As always, boaters and divers are also encouraged to properly dispose of their trash and keep the bay waters clean and debris free.
The opening of bay scallop season in St. Joseph Bay and Gulf County mark the latest season to open. In previous months season started in Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County, part of Taylor County and all of Dixie County, Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties and Pasco County.
All seasons stay open into September, per FWC’s website.