MIAMI (CBSMIAMI/AP) — Some Florida seafood lovers will be happy come next week as bay scallop season opens in some Florida waters.
The recreational season is only open in certain areas.
Beginning July 1, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission says Bay scallops will be ready for the taking, but only in Gulf of Mexico waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.
The season will run through Sept. 24.
The bag limit is two gallons of whole bay scallops or one pint of meat per person, per day, with a vessel limit of 10 gallons of whole bay scallops or a half-gallon of meat. Scallops may be collected by hand or with a landing or dip net.
Scallops cannot be taken ashore outside of the open area.
There is no commercial harvest for bay scallops in Florida state and federal waters.
The average number of scallops observed during pre-season surveys doubled in Homosassa and St. Joseph Bay and increased slightly in Steinhatchee. The St. Marks average decreased substantially from June 2012, which was most likely due to effects from Tropical Storm Debby.
Wildlife officials are cautioning people to be safe when diving for scallops. Divers should stay within 300 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag when scalloping in open water and within 100 feet of a properly displayed divers-down flag if on a river, inlet or navigation channel.
Boat operators traveling within 300 feet of a divers-down flag in open water or 100 feet of one on a river, inlet or navigational channel must slow to idle speed.
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