PSO Urges Safety While Enjoying Pasco County’s Scallop Season

Harvesting Florida’s Bay scallops during scalloping season is a fun and potentially rewarding summer activity enjoyed in Pasco County’s waterways. During scallop season snorkelers go below the water’s surface hoping to spot scallops as they flutter through the shallow seagrass. Before diving in, it is important to know and follow regulations, vessel requirements and daily catch limits. Pasco Sheriff’s Office is sharing tips to keep snorkelers and boaters safe this scallop season.

The 2023 Bay Area scallop season in Pasco County was extended to 37 days this year, from July 1 through to August 6. The approved Pasco County scalloping region spans across all state water from the Pasco-Pinellas County line to the Hernando-Pasco County line, including the Anclote River. 

Before heading out, ensure your boat has all safety essentials, from proper permits to a fire extinguisher to easily accessible life jackets on board. Don’t forget to file a float plan with a trusted friend or family member. Be patient while at boat ramps and launch sites, as they’re expected to be busy. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated—before, during, and after any water activities. Remember: boating while intoxicated is illegal, so be sure to have a designated driver.

When boating, check the weather forecast before heading out. Be prepared for high winds, sun and other elements, and be prepared to these conditions to change rapidly. Without proper knowledge of potential weather hazards, boating can put your vessel and passengers at risk. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and to bring plenty of drinkable water. Always designate a sober captain as well. Boating while intoxicated is not only illegal, but alcohol impairment affects the body differently while on the water and you may feel the effects sooner than drinking on land. 

While boating, be cautious and keep an eye out for dive flags. Reduce speeds near divers. Scallopers must display a diver down warning device or flag before divers or snorkelers swim below the water’s surface. One person should always stay on the boat to monitor those swimming and current weather conditions to keep everyone safe.

It is important to have a fishing license and adhere to fishing catch allowances keep our waterways and wildlife safe. Recreational scalloping requires a Florida saltwater fishing license, unless individuals are exempt from fishing license requirements, or have a no-cost shoreline fishing license and meet the additional requirements. Individual daily catch limits per  person are two gallons of whole bay scallops within their shells, or one pint of bay scallop meat in Pasco County. Vessel limits do not permit individuals to exceed their personal limit. For vessels collecting scallops as a group, the combined allowance is 10 gallons of whole bay scallops within their shells, or four pints of bay scallop meat in Pasco County. Discarded scallop shells can be hazardous for the seagrass area as well as swimmers, so it is important to discard of empty scallop shells in the trash. Scallop shells should never be disposed of within inshore waters, such as the Anclote River.

Following fishing advisories, boating regulations and guidelines can help keep Pasco County waters safe. For more information on regulations for scallop season, fishing licenses, diver down displays and more, visit

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