2019 scallop season dates to remember

From FWC:

The remaining portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County (including Keaton Beach and the Steinhatchee area): the third Saturday in June (June 15) through Sept. 10. This region includes all state waters east of Rock Island near the mouth of the Fenholloway River in Taylor County and north of Alligator Pass daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County.

2018 Scallop Season Opens Saturday June 16th in Steinhatchee

2018 Scallop Season Opens Saturday June 16th in Steinhatchee

The 2018 recreational bay scallop season for Dixie County and a portion of Taylor County opens June 16 and will remain open through Sept. 10. This includes all state waters from the Suwannee River to the Fenholloway River.

Gov. Rick Scott said, “Each summer, thousands of Floridians and visitors come to our coastal communities for the world’s best scalloping. With the opening of scallop season along with Florida’s abundant fishing opportunities, I am encouraging everyone to experience for themselves why Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. This is a great time to get outside and enjoy the Gulf Coast’s beautiful waters, pristine beaches and world-class seafood.”

“Harvesting bay scallops is a fun outdoor activity for the whole family,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Bo Rivard. “The conservation of this species is important for recreation and the economics of these coastal areas.”

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Great Scalloping article in Gainesville Sun

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun   In this June 28, 2014 file photo, Heather Hamilton, then 11, carries a handful of scallops back to her boat after picking them from the grassy bottoms during the first day of scallop season ioff the coast of Steinhatchee.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

In this June 28, 2014 file photo, Heather Hamilton, then 11, carries a handful of scallops back to her boat after picking them from the grassy bottoms during the first day of scallop season ioff the coast of Steinhatchee.

Here is a very informative article from the Gainesville Sun about 9 must haves for Scallop Season.

Going scalloping? 9 must-haves

I’m “going scalloping” is about to become a familiar refrain for those who are aficionados of the tasty mollusks and love to snorkel in shallow bay waters.

This year’s season runs from June 27 to Sept. 24.

The bay scallop zone is from the Pasco-Hernando County line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. The best scalloping spots in our area typically include Crystal River, Homosassa, Cedar Key and Steinhatchee.

Here’s what you need to participate in the annual fun event that some refer to as an underwater Easter egg hunt:

1) A salt water fishing license. Fees range from $17 for one year up to lifetime options. Go to http://myfwc.com/license/recreational/saltwater-fishing/

2) A boat. Scalloping is done near shore, but you still need a vessel to get out to the seagrass beds. Buy one, borrow one or rent one, at, for example, http://seahag.com/rental-fleet/

3) Diver down flag. This is not an option; it’s the law.

4) Snorkel/mask and fins. You become one with the giant aquarium this way.

5) Mesh bag. As you swim, you need a way to collect the scallops you find, which remain alive in the open fabric.

6) Dipper net. This is for people with a short reach or who might not want to touch the seagrass.

7) Spoon/knife/quart container. Choose a thin knife (curve the blade a bit) for separating the scallop from one shell; use the spoon to scoop the meat off the other shell; put the meat in the quart container.

8) Ice. Scallops are seafood collected in the sun and heat; keep them cold!

9) Food/beverages and sunscreen. You’ll work up an appetite and a thirst while scalloping — and the sun is merciless.

There are limits to how many scallops a person can harvest, and other rules as well. For the official scoop, go to http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational/bay-scallops. You can learn even more at www.flseagrant.org/fisheries/scalloping.
— By Susan Smiley-Height