Bay scallop season opens Wednesday in Pasco

bay scallop fwc
The FWC at its February meeting approved a change to its annual scalloping season, extending the season from 37 days last year to 40 this year.

Bay scallop season opens Wednesday in the Pasco Zone, which includes all state waters south of the Hernando-Pasco county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse in north Pinellas County.

The zone also includes all waters of the Anclote River. The season will remain open through Aug. 18.

The daily bag limit in the zone is two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or one pint of bay scallop meat — each limit is per person, up to 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or a half-gallon (4 pints) of scallop meat per vessel.

Vessel limits do not allow recreational scallopers to exceed individual limits.

This year’s season has been altered from last year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC approved a change to this year’s season based on results of the 2023 postseason monitoring conducted by FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute and input from stakeholders at virtual public workshops, in-person meetings and other public comments.

The FWC at its February meeting approved a change to its annual scalloping season, extending the season from 37 days last year to 40 this year.

Though bay scallop season opens the activity in approved areas, those participating still need a Florida saltwater fishing license to harvest bay scallops, unless they are exempt from licensing or have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and are wading from shore to collect scallops. That applies to waders whose feet do not leave the bottom and who are not snorkeling or SCUBA diving.

Fishing licenses can be purchased at or by phone at 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA (888-347-4356). Individuals can also purchase fishing licenses through the Fish|Hunt FL app 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.

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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