Florida’s Bay Scallop Season Opens July 1

Florida’s Bay Scallop Season Opens July 1

The 2024 recreational bay scallop season from Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County (including Carrabelle, Lanark and St. Marks) as well as portions of Levy County and all of Citrus and Hernando counties (including Cedar Key, Crystal River and Homosassa) opens July 1 and will remain open through Sept. 24.

The daily bag limit in these areas is 2 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per person, with a maximum of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops in the shell or 1/2 gallon (4 pints) shucked bay scallop meat per vessel.

Throughout the season, vessel limits do not allow an individual to exceed their personal bag limit.

Although bay scallop season dates may vary by region, regulations do allow the direct and continuous transit of legally harvested bay scallops through closed areas. When transiting, boaters may not stop their vessels in waters that are closed to harvest and instead must proceed directly to the dock or ramp to land scallops in a closed area.

Recreational harvesters need a Florida saltwater fishing license to harvest bay scallops unless they are exempt from needing a license or have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and are wading from shore to collect scallops (i.e., feet do not leave the bottom to swim, snorkel, or SCUBA and harvesters do not use a vessel to reach or return from the harvest location).

To purchase a Saltwater Fishing License, visit, call toll-free 888-FISH-FLORIDA (888-347-4356, or purchase through the Fish|Hunt FL app on Apple and Android devices.

For more information on current recreational bay scallop regulations, visit

Boater and scalloper safety

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reminds boaters to designate an operator who will remain sober to ensure the safety of everyone with them and around them. Operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal on all bodies of water and can lead to series injuries and consequences. In Florida, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher, the same as in a motor vehicle.

For more information, visit, click on “Boating Regulations,” and select “Boating Under the Influence.”

Seagrass awareness

It is a violation of Florida law to damage seagrass beds in some areas within state waters. Boaters should stay within the marked navigation channels whenever possible and avoid motoring through seagrass beds in shallow water, which can cause propeller scars. Seagrasses are the principal food for endangered marine animals such as manatees and green sea turtles, act as natural filters to help purify the water, and serve as important habitat for a wide variety of marine life, like the bay scallop. For more information, visit, click on “Boating Regulations,” and select “Seagrass Awareness.”

Stow it, don’t throw it

Please do not discard scallop shells in inshore waters commonly used for recreational activities, such as near boat ramps or swimming areas. Piles of discarded scallop shells can create hazards for swimmers and damage seagrass habitat. Scallop shells can be discarded in a trash receptacle or in larger bodies of water where they are more likely to disperse. Also, don’t forget to stow your trash securely on your vessel so that it doesn’t blow overboard.

Citizen scientist: What is a Panhandle scallop sitter?

Scallop Sitters are volunteers who maintain cages from private docks with up to 50 bay scallops from June through January in St George Sound, St Joseph Bay and St. Andrews Bay. On a monthly basis, these volunteers check, count and clean their cages and scallops. Each volunteer will receive one cage, one bucket of scallops, tools to maintain cages, instructional materials and some fun giveaways.

For more information on becoming a scallop sitter, visit, click on “Saltwater” then on “Bay Scallops” under Molluscs, and select “Become a Scallop-Sitter.”