Chuck before you shuck! Leave the small scallops behind!
Did you know bay scallops in Florida’s waters only live for 18 months? Or that the recreational harvest season along the Gulf Coast occurs before scallops are allowed to reproduce?
Bay scallops are sensitive to freshwater input, red tide, habitat degradation, sedimentation, and pollution. Coupled with such a short life span, whatever happens one year could significantly affect the health of the scallop population the following year, making it essential to work together to sustain this famous summertime fair!
To promote best scalloping practices, Florida Sea Grant UF/IFAS Extension Agents Brittany Scharf and Victor Blanco developed a tool for scallopers to quickly check the sizes of scallops while in the water and on their boat. Smaller scallops that do not meet the minimum size requirements can be released back to their natural system and allowed to survive through the fall and reproduce. These scallops will replenish the population for next summer’s harvest!
University of Florida staff interacting with anglers at boat ramps provide these sorter tools for free! All you have to do is use them! While this is not a mandatory regulation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, this voluntary action can help make a difference.
See you at the ramp!
Thank you to PED-Stuart for the collaboration. This project was funded by Florida Sea Grant.
Questions regarding this project? Please contact Brittany Scharf (firstname.lastname@example.org).