2009 scallop season expected to be good
By Carrie A. Mizell
Scallop season is off to a great start so grab up the fins and snorkel and head to the Gulf this weekend. Open harvest season for bay scallops along the Gulf coast began Wednesday and will run through September 10.
State waters open to scalloping extend from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. Pre-season surveys of Homosassa and Steinhatchee for the 2009 season indicate that the abundances will be lower than they were in 2008.
According to regulations mandated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), recreational harvesters are limited to two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or one pint of bay scallop meat, per day during the open season. In addition, recreational scallopers can possess no more than 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or ½ gallon of bay scallop meat, aboard any boat at any time. Bay scallops can be harvested by hand, or with a landing, or dip net. They cannot be harvested for commercial purposes.
A saltwater fishing license is required if one harvests bay scallops from a boat or uses snorkel gear, but not if you wade in and collect without snorkel gear.
“It is illegal to possess bay scallops on water outside open harvest areas,” said Karen Parker of FWC. “These regulations are designed to protect and maintain the fragile bay scallop population.”