On our Natural North Florida coast, in Levy, Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson and Wakulla counties, we always seem to have a healthy “crop” bay scallops during the annual summertime harvest, which lasts from June 25 to September 25. This is no doubt due to the fact that we have crystal clear salty water under which lies a huge, protected Seagrass Preserve. Scallops come ashore by the millions (maybe billions?) to spawn, and then, during the short season, are scooped up by snorklers in relatively shallow water.
The official 2016 scallop count is currently underway by scientists at the Florida Wildlife Research Institute, and the data may not be available until just before the season starts. However, I’ve been on the water a number of days the first week of June and can report that there are good numbers of scallops showing up off Fisherman’s Rest, Big Grass Island, and Piney Point–all north of Steinhatchee. More information will be available the Florida Fish and Wildlife’s website as soon as it’s available. Or, if you’re heading to Steinhatchee for opening day, there’s going to be a Scallop Seminar at the Community Center on Friday night, September 24th. There’s you’ll hear from locals, FWC officials and scientists from the Nature Coast Biological Station about the expected quality of the harvest, including the final decision about the potential closure of St. Joe Bay, west of Apalachicola, which suffered some exposure from a red tide outbreak last year. (Note: the final meeting regarding the St. Joe closure is scheduled for June 13, with decision soon thereafter.)
For a good look at the how-to of bay scalloping, please read my post: