Monday, September 5, 2011

Scalloping on Florida's Gulf Coast

Here on the West Coast of Florida,  snorkeling for bay scallops is a pretty popular weekend activity. The recreational harvest season for bay scallops this year runs June 25  through September 25. Unfortunately, you can’t search for scallops in Tampa Bay – it’s not legal here because of the limited number of scallops. However, about two hours north you can find numerous charter boats that will take you out.

 The most popular ports for scalloping include Homosassa and Crystal River, Suwannee, Cedar Key and Steinhatchee. There is a daily limit of two gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or one pint of bay scallop meat per person. You are allowed to harvest bay scallops only by hand or with a landing or dip net. Divers and snorkelers are required to display a “divers-down” flag (red with a white diagonal stripe) while in the water and a fishing license is required.

If you think you would like to try scalloping, you can find a number of charter boats that go out daily. Click here for a guide to licensed boat captains who will take you out from the Homosassa and Crystal rivers for some Gulf Coast scalloping. Plan to rent a cabin or a hotel room nearby and make a weekend of it. Have fun!