Discover an extraordinary opportunity to take advantage of the natural beauty and vibrant coastal life the greater Tampa Bay area has to offer with the extended 2023 Bay Scallop season in Pasco County. Thanks to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Fish and Conservation Commission’s commitment to water quality and tourism, residents and visitors alike are invited to experience Florida’s Sports Coast up close and personal with a 37-day bay scallop season discovery adventure. Register for charters and tours that provide everything needed for a seamless trip. Or just relax by the shore and let worries float away as murmurations migrate through untamed aquamarine waves. The extended season allows all to enjoy Mother Nature’s art in complete tranquil bliss.
Pasco County is proud to welcome the return of the highly anticipated 2023 Bay Scallop season with a significant extension, allowing for an extended 37-day season. This exciting opportunity provides locals and visitors alike with the chance to experience Florida’s Sports Coast in a unique way. With thanks to Governor DeSantis and the Florida Fish and Conservation Commission for their commitment to both water quality and tourism, this year promises to be the best yet.
Enjoy Scalloping in Pasco County
Pasco County makes it possible for scalloping to be enjoyed in all state waters south of the Hernando-Pasco county line, north of Anclote Key Lighthouse and throughout the Anclote River. To get the most out of the experience, visitors can book a local guide or charter company who will provide everything you need, including snorkeling gear and a charter fishing license. All that is required on your part is reef-safe sunscreen, some water and snacks. Florida’s Sports Coast provides experienced guides and charters to make this scalloping season an effortless and enjoyable one.
2021 Recreational Bay Scallop Season
Florida’s Sports Coast is excited to offer a unique and multigenerational experience with the extended bay scallop season. The 2021 recreational bay scallop season opens July 1 for Pasco, Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, a portion of northwest Taylor, Levy, Citrus and Hernando counties. St. Joseph Bay/Gulf County has a later opening date, starting Aug. 16 and running to Sept. 24. Regulations allow direct and continuous transit of legally harvested bay scallops through closed areas as long as boaters proceed directly to the dock or ramp to land scallops in a closed area. There is a 2 gallon daily bag limit with a 10 gallon boat limit for whole bay scallops or 1 pint of shucked scallops per person with a half a gallon of shucked meat boat limit. Lastly, divers must display a diver-down flag while harvesting scallops in the water.
Harvesting Bay Scallops off Florida’s Gulf Coast
Discover the joy of harvesting bay scallops off Florida’s Gulf Coast with the help of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Bay scallops are smaller than sea scallops, yet they are just as plentiful and can be found in depths between 4 and 8 feet on sandy ocean floors or on blades of seagrass. With their 20 pairs of tiny, bright blue eyes around the edges of their shells, bay scallops can detect movement and light to protect themselves from predators. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission provides all the necessary information to safely and responsibly harvest this delicious shellfish.
Staying Safe on the Water
Boaters and scallopers who take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety can enjoy a safe and enjoyable experience. Life jackets should be worn at all times when underway, and drinking and boating should be avoided. In open waters, divers should stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag or device, while on a river, inlet or navigational channel, the distance should be no more than 100 feet. When travelling within the designated distances of a divers-down flag or device, boat operators must reduce speed to idle. For those looking for further information on boating regulations, there is plenty of helpful material available.
Proper Disposal of Scallop Shells
Scallopers should be proud of their efforts to protect inshore waters from the damaging effects of discarded scallop shells. To help keep these areas clean and safe, it is important to dispose of the shells in a trash receptacle or larger body of water where they can disperse more easily. Additionally, always ensure that your trash is securely stowed on your boat to prevent it from blowing overboard.
Free Scallop Sorters Available
Florida’s Sports Coast is proud to offer free scallop sorters to the visitors and residents of Pasco County in order to promote sustainable scalloping practices. The scallop sorter tool developed by UF/IFAS Extension Florida Sea Grant allows for the harvesting of mature scallops while protecting smaller, underdeveloped ones. To pick up a free scallop sorter (limit two per family while supplies last), simply visit the Florida’s Sports Coast office at 1938 Duck Slough Blvd. in Trinity during regular business hours.
Let’s make sure we protect the bay scallop population for years to come!
Scallop Trio with a Hawaiian Twist
At Frankie Raw Bar, 4903 State Road 54 in New Port Richey, the popular Scallop Trio with a Hawaiian Twist recipe is shared with Patch readers. Preparation includes sautéing garlic, butter and pineapple, searing the split lobster tail for 3 minutes, then adding the scallops and shrimp to the pan and sautéeing for another 3 minutes before promptly removing from heat as seafood will continue to cook when plated. This delicious and unique dish has become a fan favorite of those who visit Frankie Raw Bar.
The 2023 scallop season marks a historic occasion for residents, tourists and charter guides on Florida’s Sports Coast. With an extended 37 day season in Pasco, as well as plentiful opportunities throughout the province, there is plenty of chances to bag salty treats while creating evergreen memories. With thanks to Governor DeSantis, the Florida Fish and Conservation Commission, and Patch updates, locals can look forward to a magnificent year of outdoor adventures, fun multi-generational experience, and of course, fresh, delicious scallops just waiting to be obtained!