After determining two years of season extensions did not significantly impact the bay scallop population, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission decided June 28 to permanently extend the recreational season by two weeks.
The decision was made at a meeting in Palm Beach Gardens. Commissioners also directed staff to look into the possibility of a future commercial harvest of bay scallops. The commercial harvest of bay scallops has been closed in Florida state waters since 1994.
The recreational season, which started July 1, will now end Sept. 25. Bay scallops are also known to be larger at the end of the summer, which may be a draw for some harvesters.
The Commission extended the season temporarily in 2010 and 2011 to ease economic hardships caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Bay scallops can be recreationally harvested in Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.
The recreational bag limit is 2 gallons of whole bay scallops or 1 pint of meat per person, per day, with a vessel limit of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops or half a gallon of meat.