Scallop season to open Tuesday

Gulf County’s recreational scallop season, which brings hundreds if not thousands of regional visitors to the area annually, will open on Tuesday, August 16 and run consecutively through September 24.

This shortened season, which starts later in the year than in other Florida counties, is designed to allow scallops to reach larger sizes and keep populations within the St. Joseph Bay from being overly depleted.

This season follows three years of productive scallop seasons.

But though exact scallop numbers within the St. Joseph Bay this time around are a mystery, certain things always remain the same.

With an influx of visitors set to take advantage of Gulf County’s scalloping opportunities, tourism and environmental officials are increasing efforts to disseminate information regarding the rules and regulations associated.

Bag limits, regulations 

Bag and vessel limits remain two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or one pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or a 1/2 gallon (4 pints) bay scallop meat per vessel.  

Vessel limits do not allow an individual to exceed their personal bag limit.  

Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net. 

There is no commercial harvest of bay scallops allowed in Florida. 

Direct and continuous transit of legally-harvested bay scallops is allowed through closed areas. Boaters may not stop their vessels in waters that are closed to harvest and must proceed directly to the dock or ramp to land scallops in a closed area. 

All scallopers must have a saltwater fishing license, which can be purchased at

For information on bay scallop regulations, visit and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops” under the “Crabs, Lobster and other Shellfish” tab. 

Boater, scalloper safety 

When scalloping in open water, divers should stay within 300-feet of a properly-displayed divers-down flag or device, and within 100-feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag or device if on a river, inlet or navigation channel.  

Boat operators traveling within 300-feet of a divers-down flag or device in open water or within 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed.  

Boaters are also asked to be mindful of the sea grass, as scallops are often found in shallower waters.

Stow it, don’t throw it 

Scallopers are asked not to discard scallop shells in inshore waters commonly used for recreational activities, such as near boat ramps or swimming areas. Piles of discarded scallop shells can create hazards for swimmers and damage seagrass habitat. Scallop shells can be discarded in a trash receptacle or in larger bodies of water where they are more likely to disperse. 

Citizen science 

Done for the day? Help FWC’s scallop researchers by completing an online survey at Harvesters can indicate where they harvested scallops, how many they collected and how long it took to harvest them. Participants can email [email protected] to ask questions or send additional information. 

Learn more about how FWC scientists monitor Florida’s scallops by visiting and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Bay Scallops” and “Bay Scallop Season and Abundance Survey.” 

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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