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FWC Gambles On Shorter Scallop Season

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State regulators are hoping a much shorter harvest will give scallops in St. Joseph Bay enough time to recover from a devastating red tide.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was considering closing the season in Gulf County this year but local officials complained. FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski acknowledged the compromise poses some risk.  

“You obviously don’t want to kill the goose but maybe there’s limited eggs that are laid this year and we keep it going and that balances with the economic considerations.”

The season normally runs from this weekend to September 24th.  Commissioners shortened it to two weeks beginning August 22nd. The commission also set a 40-scallop per-person limit. Biologists blame this winter’s toxic algae bloom for a nearly total collapse of the scallop fishery.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.