A workshop to gather public input on this summer’s bay scallop season in St. Joseph Bay is scheduled for at the Capital City Bank conference room, 2nd floor, 504 Monument Ave., in Port St. Joe. At this meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will update the public on the 2016 annual preseason survey of adult scallop numbers and gather feedback about potential management options.
Ongoing monthly research and monitoring of juvenile scallop numbers indicate bay scallops in Gulf County were negatively impacted during the 2015 red tide event in the area. There has not been any red tide observed in the bay since January.
The FWC is working closely with Gulf County in a coordinated and cooperative effort to minimize negative impacts associated with potential low scallop numbers this summer. In the meantime, FWC will proceed with previously planned research and monitoring activities, including monthly juvenile monitoring and plans for scallop restoration efforts in the bay. Results of the annual adult survey, which will be presented at the meeting, are expected to provide a better picture of the status of the bay scallop population.
This public workshop will be the third and final public meeting expected to be held in Port St. Joe on this issue. Public input gathered at these workshops will be presented to the Commission on at a meeting in the Apalachicola area. There, the Commission will discuss what management actions are best suited to meet the needs of the fishery in Gulf County while recognizing and preserving the economic value of scallops to the area.
Areas east of Gulf County do not appear to have been impacted. The 2016 bay scallop season is currently scheduled to open June 25.
Learn more about bay scallops at MyFWC.com/Fishing by clicking on “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bay Scallops.”