Bay Scallops

UPDATE (9/19/2017): The 2017 Gulf County bay scallop season postponed due to naturally occuring algae bloom. The harvest of clams and oysters has also been closed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and it is generally advised to not consume any shellfish, including pen shells, from the bay until these species are reopened.

New: Due to impacts caused by Hurricane Irma, water and scallop sample collection and analyses for St. Joe Bay were temporarily suspended.  We anticipate reinitiating collection and analytical protocols this week.  

The algal bloom in St. Joseph Bay continues to decline and domoic acid levels in scallops sampled Sept. 5 all tested within limits that are considered safe for human consumption at all four collection sites. Staff anticipate collecting more water and scallop samples early next week; however, collections could be delayed due to Hurricane Irma. Domoic acid levels must remain within the limits that are considered safe for human consumption in all four sample sites for a period of seven days before the FWC can consider opening harvest.

FWC will continue working closely with our state and local partners.

Please note that the domoic acid level in pen shells remains at levels unsafe for human consumption.

View a previous FWC New Release for details about Pseudo-nitzschia

Workshops Scheduled in October. Provide input on this fishery. Workshop information.



Bay Scallop: Argopecten irradians

Florida Recreational Regulations

Harvest areas 

(see map below for details on harvesting areas)
Gulf County, including St. Joseph Bay (Zone 1) Fenholloway River to Suwannee River (a portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County) (Zone 2)

All other areas open to the harvest of bay scallops (Zone 3)

Open Season

Season postponed. News Release

June 16 - Sept. 10, 2017  July 1 - Sept. 24, 2017 
Daily Bag Limit

2 gallons whole bay scallops in shell, or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person

Maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in shell, or 1/2 gallon bay scallop meat per vessel

Minimum Size Limit  None 


Bay Scallop Harvest Zones:

2017 Scallop Zone Map

 Bay scallops may only be harvested in state waters from the following zones:

Zone 1 (Gulf County, including St. Joseph Bay): Includes all state waters from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the western-most point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. SEASON POSTPONED

Zone 2 (Fenholloway River to Suwannee River, including a portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County. This includes the communities of Dekle Beach, Keaton Beach and Steinhatchee.): Includes all state waters south and east of Rock Island, near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County (Northern Boundary Map) through and north of the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County (Southern Boundary Map).

Zone 3 (all other areas open to the harvest of bay scallops): Includes all state waters from the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County to Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County and from the Suwannee River Alligator Pass Daybeacon 4 in Levy County to the Hernando-Pasco county line.

 Northern Taylor County scallop zone boundary map

Dixie County scallop zone southern boundary map

It is illegal to possess bay scallops on waters outside open harvest areas or during the closed season. It is also illegal to land scallops outside open harvest areas. For example, it would be legal to take scallops from waters off the Hernando County coast, but it would be illegal to dock your boat in Pasco County with the scallop catch onboard. It would also be illegal to transport scallops harvested in zone 2 across zone 3 waters prior to the July 1 zone 3 season opening.

Gear Requirements:

Commercial harvest prohibited.

Recreational harvesters need a Florida saltwater fishing license to harvest bay scallops unless they are 1. exempt from needing a license or 2. have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and are wading from shore to collect scallops (i.e. feet do not leave bottom to swim, snorkel, or SCUBA and harvesters do not use a vessel to reach or return from the harvest location).  

Links to more Bay Scallop information:

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