Scallop season returning to Pasco County

By Tim Wronka , Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, March 04, 2018, 7:22 PM EST

For the first time in nearly 25 years, scalloping is returning to Pasco County.

  • Scalloping returning to Pasco County
  • FWC is allowing a 10-day season in July
  • Scalloping was initially banned because of overharvesting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has decided to allow a 10-day scalloping season off the coast of Pasco in July. 

And, the anticipation of the return has already begun.

Boat renter Wendy Longman is already getting the scalloping gear ready to go.

“We’re amping up,” she said. “We’re getting the mesh nets. Buckets, snorkel gear, things like that.”

Longman owns Wingsong Charters in New Port Richey. Since 1994, she hasn’t been able to offer scallop trips.

That’s finally about to change in July.

“It’s going to be epic,” Longman said. “I’m so excited to have scallop rentals back after so many years.”

Scalloping is returning to Pasco County on a trial basis and a similar plan is in the works for 2019.  Many people are hoping it comes back for a full season. If so, it could really benefit tourism in west Pasco County. 

“It’s a huge demand here,” Longman said.  “For years and years and years, people have been driving through Pasco County for scalloping. Now they’ll be stopping in Pasco. It’s wonderful.”

She says folks have already booked their trips.

Scalloping in Pasco was initially banned because of overharvesting.

It has been allowed in Hernando and Citrus counties since 2002. FWC says numbers are now healthy enough for it return to Pasco, possibly even for a full season by 2020.

In Pasco, the season will run from July 20-29.  

In Hernando and Citrus countries, the season runs from July 1 to Sept. 24.