Skip to main content

Panhandle Scallop Sitters

Project Goal

To increase depleted Panhandle scallop populations in some bays and reintroduce scallops in other suitable areas from which scallops have disappeared. This work is funded by a NRDA grant for St. Joseph Bay, St. Andrew Bay, and St. George Sound only.

If you want to view a video providing an overview of bay scallop biology, the fishery, and our restoration program, including a demonstration on how to care for your scallops, view our  Scallop Restoration Webinar video.

What is a Scallop Sitter?

Scallop Sitters are volunteers that maintain cages with up to 50 bay scallops from June through January in St George Sound, St Joseph Bay, and St. Andrews Bay. On a monthly basis, these volunteers check, count, and clean their cages and scallops. Each volunteer will receive 1 cage, 1 bucket of scallops, tools to maintain cages, instructional materials, and some fun giveaways.

Volunteer Requirements

  1. No FWC violations
  2. Live near St. Andrew Bay, St. Joseph Bay, or St. George Sound. 
  3. Able to access the bay via boat, kayak, or private dock. Please note: cage locations are restricted to certain portions of St. Andrews Bay & St. George Sound due to salinity concerns. Please check the maps at the bottom of this page to make sure your location is okay. There are no location restrictions in St. Joseph Bay at this time.
  4. Able to pull cage from the water, count & clean scallops once a month from August – January. This is messy, labor-intensive work.
  5. Able to access & enter data in the Scallop Sitter Monthly Cage Checks on Google Forms. (Link will be provided to selected Scallop Sitters).

Volunteer Applications

Thank You for your interest in Scallop Sitters! 2024-2025 is the final year of the Scallop Sitter program. Due to limited supplies, we are having all interested volunteers apply. 

May 15 - June 30: Scallop Sitter Applications Open.
Apply online by June 30

July 1: Sitter Selections & Applicant Notifications

August: Supply Handouts & Trainings (selected applicants will be sent location and date/time information)

September - December: Monthly cage checks, scallop counts, salinity readings, etc. 

January 2025: Release scallops, return supplies 

Cage Location Maps

St George Sound: Scallop Sitter cages are only allowed in the outlined portion of St. George Sound since this area is most suitable for scallop survival. Includes seagrass beds around Lanark reef, Dog Island, Turkey Pt Shoal and Dog Island Reef.

map of St. George Sound with an area outlined in black showing area where scallop cages can be placed

St Andrews Bay: Scallop Sitter cages are only allowed in the highlighted portion of the bay (between the Hathaway Bridge and the Dupont Bridge) since this area is most suitable for scallop survival.

Map of St. Andrews Bay, Florida. A portion of the waterway is colored blue between the Hathaway Bridge and the Dupont Bridge to show where scallop cages are allowed.

Questions about the Scallop Sitter Program? Contact us at