Increased bag limits coming to Bay scallop season in Dixie County, parts of Taylor and Levy

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The Fenholloway-Suwannee River Zone is the first to open for scalloping this year.

Bay scallop season is here.

Scalloping opened in the Fenholloway-Suwannee River Zone on June 15. The zone includes Dixie County, portions of Taylor County including Keaton Beach and Steinhatchee and a portion of Levy County. The season in that zone will remain open through Labor Day, which is Sept. 2.

The zone’s daily bag limit from June 15-30 is 1 gallon of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1 cup of shucked bay scallop meat. Those limits are per person, with a maximum of 5 gallons of whole scallops or 2 pints of shucked scallop meat per vessel.

But beginning July 1 through Labor Day the limit is 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 scallops or a half gallon of scallop meat per vessel.

Commercial harvesting is still prohibited. Harvesting may only be done by hand or by using a dip net.

While scalloping season is open, harvesters will need a Florida saltwater fishing license to participate. There are some exceptions, including those who don’t require a license or who have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and are wading from shore to collect scallops. In such cases, harvesters’ feet must not leave the waterway floor to swim, snorkel or SCUBA, and no vessel may be used to reach the harvest location.

More information on bay scallop regulations is available on the Florida Fish and Wildlife website under “recreational regulations” and “bay scallops,” which is under the “crabs, lobster and other shellfish” tab.

Fishing licenses can be purchased at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or by calling 888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356) or on the Fish|Hunt FL app available on Apple and Android devices.

Officials urge caution when scalloping, including staying within 300 feet of a correctly displayed divers-down flag when diving, or within 100 feet of the flag if diving in a river, inlet or navigation channel. Scallopers are also encouraged to always operate vessels at idle speed when traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag in open water, or within 100 feet of such flag in rivers, inlets or navigation channels.

Boaters and scallopers should be mindful of Florida law banning the damage of seagrass beds in some areas within state waters. Avoid traveling through seagrass beds in shallow water and stay within marked navigation channels when possible.

Officials also ask scallopers not to discard scallop shells into inshore waters, particularly where recreational activities are common, such as boat ramps or swimming areas. Discarded shells can create hazards for swimmers and damage seagrass habitat.

The Fenholloway-Suwannee River Zone was the first to open for scalloping this year. Zones in Franklin and northwest Taylor County, and Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties open July 1 and run through Sept. 24. The Pasco County Zone opens July 10 and runs through Aug. 18. And the Gulf County Zone opens Aug. 16 and remains open through Sept. 24.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


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