Scallop season begins Friday in Gulf County

GULF COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Captain Tim Wilder of Bali Hai Charters was born and raised in Port St. Joe. Like many of the locals will tell you, Wilder says scallop season is a big deal for the community.

Scallop season starts August 16 and runs until September 15. (WJHG/WECP)

"We need some good news, it's been a while, almost a year since Hurricane Michael, and scallop season brings a renewed interest to the area and it's good news that there's plenty of scallops out there," Captain Wilder said.

Scalloping will take place in all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County to the Westernmost Point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has been working hard on scallop restoration for the last few years.

"We are very excited. It's really plentiful down there, it looks like everything we've done since 2016 really helped out with the scallop restoration, and getting our scallop population back to where everyone can really enjoy," Marketing Associate with Gulf County TDC, Adrianne Glass said.

Bag and vessel limits this year are two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, with a maximum of 10 gallons per vessel. The FWC urges boaters to be safe when traveling to and from scalloping sites and while scalloping.

Gulf County locals will tell you scallop season has been a struggle the last few years, and with some much devastation this past year many are just excited to have it back to normal.

"We were scared with the hurricane, we didn't know what to expect. I know they put the season off several weeks so they could mature and I understand there's a lot of them and they are pretty healthy too, so that's great for us," Wilder said.

Those who plan on participating in this year's scallop season do need to have a license. Gulf County's scallop season will run until September 15. As a reminder, there is no commercial harvest allowed for bay scallops in Florida. For any questions about scallop season, contact the Gulf County Welcome Center.

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