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Scalloping



The succulent scallops found in the shallow waters of St. Joe Bay are not only delicious, they are loads of fun to find and catch! That's why in late summer, hundreds of snorkelers and waders make their way across the bay's grass flats looking for the elusive mollusks. St. Joe Bay is one of only a few places in Florida where bay scallops can be harvested, and the fun is celebrated each August at the St. Joseph Bay Scallop Festival.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

  • Bay scallop harvesting is allowed only for individual consumption.
  • The season opens July 1 and closes Sept. 10.
  • You may collect up to two gallons of whole scallops or 1 pint of meat per day per person.
  • In addition, recreational scallopers may possess no more than 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell, or 1/2 gallon of bay scallop meat, aboard any vessel at any time
  • Recreational harvesters need a Florida saltwater fishing license to harvest bay scallops, even when scalloping from shore.
  • Click Here to view an underwater video clip of scallops in their natural habitat.
  • more information
  • EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED:

  • For some, the only equipment needed is a good pair of wading shoes and a mesh bag.
  • Most scallopers prefer to use a mask, snorkel and swim fins to assist in the search.
  • A boat will get you to more places, but isn't completely necessary.
  • SCUBA divers and swimmers using a mask and snorkel are required to carry a divers-down flag.
  • If the divers-down flag is displayed from the highest part of your boat, divers must make reasonable efforts to stay within 300 feet of their flag.
  • Take plenty of drinking water, and USE SUNSCREEN. The cool water is deceiving...you will burn, and ruin your vacation.
  • I FOUND THEM...NOW WHAT?

  • Only take from the water as many as you plan to clean. If it's your first time, take less.
  • The proper way to shuck a scallop is to place the shellfish on ice. The cold will slightly open most of the shells. Each scallop has a dark shell and a lighter one. Place the lighter side down and run a knife along the top part of the inside of the dark shell. This separates the muscle from the dark shell and loosens the dark-colored innards that you don't want to eat. Done properly, the dark parts slide out, leaving the white muscle, which can then be cut away from the lower shell.
  • Scallops are prepared most any way you'd cook shrimp, including sauteed, blackened or fried. They work well in chowders, and are perfect sauteed with garlic in white wine sauce over pasta. Avoid overcooking...will make the meat tough.
  • To view current state of Florida regulations on harvesting bay scallops, visit the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) Web site, Chapter 68—FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION or FFWCC Saltwater Rules and Regulations.

    For more information regarding diver-down flags please visit this website.

    For current boating safety rules and regulations please visit this website.

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