A scalloping mini-season is coming to the picturesque coastal Gulf waters of Pasco County. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s approval of a 10-day trial season for state waters off Pasco opens a fresh opportunity for boaters and divers that was traditionally restricted. “The scallop season was closed in all waters south of the Suwannee River, including Pasco County, in 1994 due to declines in the fishery and concerns that the scallop population could not support the levels of harvest the fishery was experiencing. Citrus and Hernando County were reopened to harvest in 2002 after those areas responded well to restoration efforts in the area,” the FWC said.
The season adds yet another attraction to the area’s popular fishing draw and pristine beaches including Anclote Key Preserve State Park off the New Port Richey coastline. Visitors launching from the Port Richey boat ramp will find expanded offerings along the waterfront including the new Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill.
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. “Based upon the comments we’ve received, there is hope from the public that a limited season now would lead to an annual season in the future,” the FWC said.