Scallop Regualtions of St. Joe Bay Coastal Region
Scalloping in St. Joe Bay is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike, but there are strict regulations covering the fragile, and often very limited, scallop population.
- Scalloping is permitted only in certain waters, including St. Joseph Bay.
- State waters in the Gulf of Mexico open to scallop harvest from the Pasco-Hernando County line (near Aripeka) to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.
- Scallop Season runs July 1-September 10 only. Harvesting scallops at any other time is illegal.
- It is illegal to possess bay scallops on water outside open harvest areas. It is also illegal to land scallops outside open harvest areas. For example, it would be legal to take scallops from waters off the Hernando County coast, but illegal to dock your boat in Pasco County with the scallop catch onboard.
- People wading in shallow areas at low tide do not need a license, but cannot use dive masks or snorkels to help them find scallops.
- Bay scallops may be harvested only by hand, or with a landing or dip net.
- All scallopers operating from any boat must have a valid saltwater fishing license from the state.
- Each person is limited to two gallons of whole scallops, or one pint of meat per day.
- A boatload of five or more people can take no more than 10 gallons total of whole scallops, or four pints of meat total per day.
- If taking a boat into shallow bay waters, be particularly careful not to injure or rip out the fragile sea grass with the boat motor.
It takes literally years for sea grass to rejuvenate after such an injury, and destruction of sea grass beds is extremely detrimental to the bay’s ecology.
If your boat is too large to safely navigate the shallows and sea grass beds, use poles or paddles to exit the sea grass, or use a different, more shallow-draft boat.