The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last week approved changes to state bay scallop rules to create regionally-specific bay scallop open seasons.
Regionally-specific open seasons means the timing of the summer bay scallop season would vary to provide a better scalloping experience for the public and maximize the benefits to various regions.
Under the new season schedule, bay scallop harvest will be allowed from July 1st through September 24th for Franklin County through northwestern Taylor County including Carrabelle, Lanark, and St. Marks.
The 2018 bay scallop season in St. Joseph Bay and Gulf County would run from August 17th through September 30th.
The short season for Gulf County is intended to help rebuild the bay scallop population in St. Joe Bay which was decimated by a red tide bloom in 2015.
The FWC will set a long-term season in St. Joseph Bay once the scallop population in that area has more fully rebuilt.
The Regionally-specific open seasons are for 2018 only.
In late 2018 or early 2019, the FWC will revisit the issue and will work toward creating a more permanent season structure starting in 2020.