Allowable shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels) harvesting areas are established and managed for public health purposes by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Aquaculture. Shellfish harvesting areas are opened and closed in accordance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Guidelines, and the open or closed status applies to both recreational and commercial harvest.
You may view maps of these areas and determine the open or closed status at: www.floridaaquaculture.com or Shellfish Harvest Areas Map
If using the Shellfish Harvest Areas Map, be sure to click on your area below for daily status updates:
For additional information call 850-617-7600.
Statewide: Two 60-pound bags per person or per vessel
Apalachicola Bay through June 30, 2018:
5 gallons in shell per person or vessel, whichever is less, recreational limit
June, July and August in Dixie, Levy and Wakulla counties
July, August and September all other counties
East Hole closed to harvest, except on Mondays
Sept. 1, 2017-June 30, 2018: No harvest on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Apalachicola Bay (as defined in Rule 68B-27.013(1), F.A.C. ) has specific closed seasons as determined by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
*All harvest is also prohibited when shellfish harvesting areas are in the closed status as determined by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
(any species of the genus Mercenaria, also known as quahog)
Can oysters and barnacles be used as bait or chum for sheepshead?
Yes, so long as you are adhering to the regulations for each species.
Oysters and barnacles are very different when it comes to regulations.
Oysters have closed seasons, bag limits, size limits and can only be legally harvested in specific shellfish harvesting areas that are classified as "approved" or "conditionally approved" and in the "open" status. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Aquaculture manages these shellfish harvesting areas.
Barnacles on the other hand do not have size limits or specified bag limits, which means that you can harvest up to 100 pounds per person per day with a recreational saltwater fishing license and you can use them to chum sheepshead. You can also simply scrape them off bridge piles and allow them to sink and attract sheepshead. Do not scrape barnacles from private docks or other private structures without permission of the property owner.
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