Scalloping close to your vacation rentalWhat are Florida Bay Scallops?
Scallops are a species of saltwater clam that live in sea grass beds and often in sandy areas close to grass beds. They are filter feeders, and an adult scallop can filter the algae and organic matter from over 15 quarts of water in an hour. That’s pumping a lot of water for such a small creature! Florida bay scallops are smaller than your typical scallop, and live in 4 to 8 feet of water. They can be difficult to spot depending on the light, water clarity, and how much algae has grown on their upper shell. Along the rims of their shells are rows of tiny blue eyes that detect movement and they can escape a threat by opening and closing their two shells and squirting out water to move along in any direction. They aren’t very fast and they don’t go very far, but it’s enough to thwart danger.
Scalloping in the Homosassa - Crystal River area:
The area Springs are known for its natural beauty and wildlife, and it's also one of the best scalloping spots in Florida. If you have a boat, you can certainly go out and scallop on your own if you're familiar with the laws for harvesting scallops. But if not, we recommend taking a scallop tour with a reputable charter operator like River Safaris and Gulf Charters, one of the popular Homosassa scalloping charters and RiverVentures out of Crystal River.
You'll have to abide by the following Florida rules on scalloping:
- 2 Gallon Daily Limit - The daily limit of scallops is two gallons of whole scallops per person, meaning in the shell. That's roughly one pint of bay scallop meat if you decide to shuck them out on the water. No matter the number of people onboard the boat, there can be no more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or 1/2 gallon of scallop meat aboard the boat at any time.
- Use a Dive Flag - If you’re snorkeling from a boat, or even if you’re wading in shallow water for scallops, a dive flag of correct size must be displayed. This is a huge safety issue given the number of power boats that can be moving in a given area.
- Gather by hand - Scallops can only be harvested by hand, or if you don’t want to get an occasional harmless pinch, you can use a landing or dip net. This is intended to prevent over harvesting and protects the ecosystem as well by not destroying vital grass beds.
River Safaris provided all the minimal equipment you need to scallop - a mask, snorkel, and fins. While fins aren't necessary, they certainly help you cover more area and have extra power for when the water moves with the tides, which can be very strong. They also provided the only other “essential” - a mesh bag with a drawstring top to put your catch in while you scout around for the next one. Make sure to draw the string tight and the scallop drops down in your bag or they might swim back out of the bag. We also wore rash guards on top to prevent overexposure from the sun, important if you want to scallop the next day. Most charters will furnish the equipment, but if you’re fussy about fit you may want to use your own gear.
Scallop Season Special:
Use promo- code SCALLOP to receive 15% discount when you book online