Get your Bay Scallop bags and shucking tools ready for Fun this Summer!
2016 Bay Scallop Season – June 25th – September 24th
Now that you’ve decided to go scalloping for the first time…
Be sure to check this highlighted link from Scallop Hunter which provides helpful guides on where go scalloping in Florida. The Scallop Hunter site features the most popular destinations for scalloping in the region. Each area on the site has listings of dive shops, maps to area boat ramps, scallop charter boats, places to stay, information on marinas, where to get your scallops cleaned and more.
Be safe when diving for scallops. Snorkel within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag when scalloping in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag if on a river, inlet or navigation channel. Boat operators must slow to idle speed when traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel.
The bag limit is two gallons of whole bay scallops or one pint of meat per person, per day, with a vessel limit of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops or a half-gallon of meat. Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net.
You will need snorkel, fins and a mask along with a mesh bag to store your scallops while underwater. Note: Sometimes scallops pinch, so you might want to wear diving gloves.
Once the boat is anchored, up goes the dive flag and now the fun starts to snorkel out to look for scallops! Scallops can usually be found in about 4 – 8 feet of clear water in the sea grass at the edges of the sandy areas. Scallops sometimes swim away but they are not fast swimmers and don’t usually travel far.
Scallops are sensitive to temperature change and will quickly die if not kept cool. The ideal situation is to keep scallops in a live well while on the water and then place the scallops on ice just prior just to cleaning. The ice makes them easier to open, because the muscle that holds the shells together relaxes. Be sure to keep the scallops from the melting ice water runoff as fresh water getting into their shells will also cause them to die. A knife or a teaspoon can be used to open the shells and cut the white muscle free. Discard the shells and unwanted soft parts. Some people use a shop vacuum to clean the unwanted parts after the shells are opened.
Be Safe and Happy Scalloping!
FWC’s scallop researchers have an online survey at http://svy.mk/bayscallops to help pinpoint where scallops are being harvested from, how many scallops are harvested and how long it takes to harvest them. Participants can email BayScallops@MyFWC.com to ask questions or send additional information.