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Become a Scallop-Sitter and Help Restore Scallops in the Florida Panhandle

bay scallop cages

Bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) may have a short life, typically only living for about a year, but they play a big role in the economies of many coastal, Floridian towns, like Steinhatchee and Port St. Joe. In 2016, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists began a 10-year project to restore bay scallops in Florida’s Panhandle. The initial effort for this restoration project is focused in St. Joseph and St. Andrew Bays.  If you are a member of the community surrounding St. Joseph or St. Andrew Bay, you can help by volunteering to become a ‘scallop-sitter’ and maintain your own cage with scallops in your bay!

Project Goal: To increase depleted scallop populations in some bays and reintroduce scallops in other suitable areas from which scallops have disappeared.

How we restore scallops

  • FWC biologists place wild and hatchery-raised scallops in cages in the bay.
  • Cages protect scallops from predation.
  • Cages likely increase the number of offspring produced, increasing the population size over time.

Project Details

  • Volunteers will maintain scallops in cages from April 2018 – Jan 2019.
  • Cages will be placed either on your own private dock or in the bay using a boat or kayak.
  • FWC will provide cages, scallops, and training during our workshop in April 2018.
  • Together, we will help restore scallops in these bays.

What does it take to be a volunteer?

  1. Live near St. Andrew or St. Joseph Bay from April 2018 - January 2019.
  2. Access to the Bay: either a private dock, boat or kayak.
  3. Willing and able to clean scallop shells once a month.
  4. Attend or view via webinar FWC’s Scallop Restoration Workshop in April 2018.

If you are interested in becoming a scallop sitter in Gulf or Bay county please email us.