FWC announces Bay scallop seasons

Tallahassee, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - At its February meeting in Tallahassee, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved bay scallop open season dates for 2018.

The following regionally-specific bay scallop open seasons will be created by executive order for 2018 only:

St. Joseph Bay and Gulf County: August 17 through September 30. This region includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County.

Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark and St. Marks): July 1 through September 24. This region 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.

The remaining portion of Taylor County and all of Dixie County (including Keaton Beach and the Steinhatchee area): the third Saturday in June (June 16) through September 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.

Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa): July 1 through September 24 (previously slated for July 10 through Sept. 10). This region includes all state waters south of Alligator Pass Daybeacon #4 near the mouth of the Suwannee River in Levy County and north of the Hernando – Pasco county line.

Pasco County: Establish a trial 10-day open season to run July 20-29. This region includes all state waters south of the Hernando – Pasco county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse in northern Pinellas County, and includes all waters of the Anclote River.

These changes are for 2018 only.

In late 2018 or early 2019, the FWC will consider setting the 2019 seasons for Gulf and Pasco counties, consider continuing the 2018 season structure for the remaining portions of the open scallop harvest area in 2019, and will work toward creating a more permanent season structure starting in 2020.

You can share your comments with the FWC by leaving a comment on their website or by e-mail at Marine@MyFWC.com.