Bay scallop season in St. Joseph Bay closes Sept. 6

Bay scallop season will close for harvest in the St. Joseph Bay area Sept. 6, with the last day of harvest being open on Sept. 5, 2016 (Labor Day). This shortened season is for all waters west of St. Vincent Island through to the west bank of Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County. During this shortened season, the daily bag limit will be 40 scallops per person or 200 per vessel, whichever is less.

Restoration efforts are underway in the southeast area of the bay south of Black’s Island. Swimming, boating, fishing or scalloping in the restoration area marked with FWC buoys is prohibited during and after the scallop season.

Regulations and open season dates remain unchanged in all other open bay scallop harvesting areas.

Ongoing research and monitoring results indicate bay scallops in Gulf County were negatively impacted during a 2015 red tide event in the area. There has not been any red tide observed in the bay since January 2016, and areas east of Gulf County do not appear to have been impacted.

The FWC has been working closely with Gulf County in a coordinated and cooperative effort to minimize negative impacts associated with potential low scallop numbers this summer. FWC staff hosted three public meetings in Port St. Joe to share information and to gather public input on bay scallops in the area. The decision to open a shortened season with a lower bag limit was made at the June 2016 Commission meeting in nearby Eastpoint. The FWC will continue monitoring and conducting restoration efforts in the bay.

Learn more about long-term trends in the open and closed scalloping areas by visiting MyFWC.com/Research and clicking on “Saltwater,” “Molluscs,” “Bay Scallops” and “Bay Scallop Season and Abundance Survey.”

For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”