Gulf County scallop season to open Saturday

GULF COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Wednesday afternoon Gulf County's bay scallop season will open Saturday, September 23rd.

The 2017 season was postponed earlier this year due to a naturally occurring algae bloom in St. Joseph Bay impacting shellfish.

The FWC says recent samples show the scallops in St. Joseph Bay are safe to eat.

The 2017 season will be open for 16 days from September 23rd to October 8th. The FWC says the season opening includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin COunty.

All other regulations apply, including a daily bag limit of two gallons of whole bay scallops in a shell or one pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of ten gallons of whole bay scallops in a shell or half gallon bay scallop meat per vessel.

The scallop population in Gulf County is also still recovering from a 2015 red tide. Restoration efforts are underway in the southeast area of the bay south of Black’s Island. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area marked with FWC buoys is prohibited.

The bay scallop season for Gulf County was originally scheduled to open July 25 and close September 10.