The 2016 recreational season for bay scallops, from the western end of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County through the Pasco-Hernando county line, will close Sunday, Sept. 25. The final day of harvesting is Saturday, Sept. 24, bringing an end to the season statewide. The area west of St. Vincent Island through the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County, including St. Joseph Bay and all of Gulf County, closed Sept. 5.
Restoration efforts continue to be underway in St. Joseph Bay following negative impacts to the scallop population in that area during a 2015 red tide event. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area, which is in the southeast portion of the bay south of Black’s Island and marked with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) buoys, is prohibited during and after the scallop season. The FWC will continue monitoring and conducting restoration efforts in the bay.
Scallop harvesters can assist researchers by completing an online survey at http://svy.mk/bayscallops, indicating where they harvested scallops, how many they collected and how long it took to harvest them. Participants may email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.
Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops” to learn more. Learn more about long-term trends in the open and closed scalloping areas by visiting MyFWC.com/Research, and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Molluscs,” “Bay Scallops” and “Bay Scallop Season and Abundance Survey.”