After 25-year absence, scallop season returns to Pasco County

 After a 25-year absence, scalloping is making a comeback in Pasco County.

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 Bay scallop season in Florida. (Photo: Flikr/FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute)

Bay scallop season in Florida. (Photo: Flikr/FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute)

At a February meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved new rules granting a 10-day scallop season off the coast of Pasco County beginning on July 20.

Scallopers can take advantage of all state waters south of the Hernando – Pasco county line and north of the Anclote Key Lighthouse in northern Pinellas County, and all waters of the Anclote River, wildlife officials said.

After the trial run, the state is expected to put a similar plan in the works for 2019 and will work toward facilitating a more permanent scallop season structure in 2020.

Scalloping was banned in 1994 in an effort to save the state’s disappearing shellfish.

Recreational harvesters need a Florida saltwater fishing license to harvest bay scallops unless they are exempt from needing a license, have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and are wading from shore to collect scallops, according to the FWC.

Scalloping on waters outside open harvest areas or during the closed season is strictly prohibited.