Two workshops to gather public input on this summer’s bay scallop season in St. Joseph Bay are scheduled for Tuesday, May 24 and Monday, June 13. Both will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. EDT at the Capital City Bank conference room, 2nd floor, 504 Monument Ave., in Port St. Joe. At these meetings, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will update the public on the most recent monitoring data as well as gather feedback about potential management options.
Ongoing research and monitoring results indicate bay scallops in Gulf County were negatively impacted during the 2015 red tide event in the area. The FWC will work closely with Gulf County in a coordinated and cooperative effort to minimize negative impacts associated with potential low scallop numbers this summer. In the meantime, FWC will proceed with previously planned research and monitoring activities, including monthly juvenile monitoring and annual adult monitoring that is conducted in early June. The June 13 meeting will include data from the annual preseason survey of adult scallop numbers.
Public input gathered at these workshops will be presented to the Commission at its June 22 – 23 meeting in the Apalachicola area, where the Commission will discuss what management actions are best suited to meet the needs of the fishery in Gulf County while recognizing and preserving the economic value of scallops to the area. Areas east of Gulf County do not appear to have been impacted. The 2016 bay scallop season is currently scheduled to open June 25.