The Florida bay scallop is a bivalve (two shells joined by a hinge) mollusk that lives in shallow, grassy flats in select locations along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Usually found in four to ten feet of water, scallops live in all oceans, but never in fresh water. Bay scallops are recognizable by the tiny bright blue eyes running along the shell rim.
Bay scallops open their shells to feed and breathe. A scallop’s diet consists of algae and organic matter that is filtered from the water. It uses its gills to pull oxygen out of the water. A single scallop can produce more than one million eggs per spawn.
Unlike oysters and clams, scallops are swimmers. They click their shells together to create thrust and propel through water. Their ability to swim makes them difficult to catch.
Thousands of scallop enthusiasts enjoy the challenge of trying to catch a tasty meal during Florida’s scallop season which generally runs from late June through early September. Before netting your catch, verify your location’s season. Scallop harvesting rules vary by county and violations carry a hefty fine.
Read the full July 2019 SECO News online.
Photo by Nancy Sheridan/FWC