On Saturday, July 1, the start of recreational scalloping season in the local area, Zone 3, brought more boaters into Gulf waters and likely will for the duration of the season which ends Sept. 24. Recreational boaters are urged to obey parking laws and to not drink or boat while impaired.

LIMITS: Per person limits are 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person. Per vessel limits are 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in†shell, or 1/2 gallon bay scallop–meat.

HELPFUL INFORMATION: Scallopers need a current Florida saltwater fishing license and must have a diver’s down flag and know the rules for displaying the flag. Make sure you have needed/functioning boating safety equipment. Idle in 3 to 4 feet deep water, as grass can clog the motor’s intake and overheat a boat. Stay 300 feet (100 yards) from any boat with a diver’s down flag. Boat slowly and be on the lookout for swimmers who may have strayed from their diver’s down flag. Be watchful for the common late afternoon storms and get off the water if you see evidence of one!

Gulf County scallop season postponed due to naturally occurring algae bloom
As a precautionary measure due to a naturally occurring algae bloom in St. Joseph Bay that affects shellfish, the bay scallop harvest originally scheduled to begin on July 25th in Gulf County waters will be temporarily postponed. This postponement includes all state waters from the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County through the westernmost point of St. Vincent Island in Franklin County. This does not impact other areas currently open for a recreational harvest. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is working closely with partners on this postponement including the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), which has also issued a precautionary closure for the harvest of clams, mussels and oysters in St. Joseph Bay.

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