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Homosassa Scalloping

Old 06-30-2020, 11:53 PM
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Default Homosassa Scalloping

I have been getting some input for the upcoming scallop season in the Homosassa area, it doesn't look good. Feedback from some friends that have been doing some scouting and information from the local biologist are suggesting a repeat of last year.
Anyone else have any information about the upcoming season?
Old 07-01-2020, 07:52 AM
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My friends scouted around last weekend south of the Homosassa channel and saw 1 scallop all day. They tried several areas that had been productive in the past.

Some drunken shrimpers started a rumor a while back that the scallops were clogging up their nets in 10 ft. Take that for what it may be worth.

There will be lots of information available later today.
Old 07-01-2020, 08:51 AM
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We've been out diving in 6-17' the last month and have seen a scallop or two on some spots but havent checked the grass were we usually get limits (not last year). Hopefully they'll start showing up.
Old 07-01-2020, 11:03 AM
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How can it be so bad in Homossassa/CR, yet there was virtually no change/was business as usual last year with Steinhatchee and other northern locales

There has got to be a pretty simple explanation somewhere for it to be such a localized thing
Old 07-01-2020, 12:01 PM
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I have no idea, but I would guess if there is a reason it might be too much fresh water flowing out of the rivers.

Like I said, just a guess.


Old 07-01-2020, 01:21 PM
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I’m in St Marks we have plenty in 45 minutes had our limit .
Old 07-01-2020, 02:17 PM
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We went out this morning from Crystal River. Extremely few was found. I then put on the scuba gear and went again only to find a few. Very disappointing. We might try to go deeper tomorrow and see. Today we covered 6-8’ before the storms came. Ran south to get out of them, but the crew wanted to call it the day after the storms past and we were back in position.
Old 07-02-2020, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Flying_Norseman View Post
We went out this morning from Crystal River. Extremely few was found. I then put on the scuba gear and went again only to find a few. Very disappointing. We might try to go deeper tomorrow and see. Today we covered 6-8’ before the storms came. Ran south to get out of them, but the crew wanted to call it the day after the storms past and we were back in position.
Kim, I could send you some spots in Hernando that have always produced for us in the past.
Old 07-02-2020, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by grey2112 View Post
Kim, I could send you some spots in Hernando that have always produced for us in the past.
please do. The word is that they are thick at 40’ up here. Planning a dive trip already.
Old 07-02-2020, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Flying_Norseman View Post
please do. The word is that they are thick at 40’ up here. Planning a dive trip already.
You going out to 40 feet for scallops? I do have some dive spots in those depths up there. Most of my scallop spots are in 4-6 feet in Hernando

Old 07-02-2020, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by grey2112 View Post
You going out to 40 feet for scallops? I do have some dive spots in those depths up there. Most of my scallop spots are in 4-6 feet in Hernando
We’re in CR now. Renting a toon. The 40’ trip would be later.
Old 07-02-2020, 07:05 AM
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I'm planning to head to Hernando tomorrow with the kiddos! Would love to have a couple of known working spots if you don't mind sharing with me too. :-)
Old 07-02-2020, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by DocHoliday View Post
How can it be so bad in Homossassa/CR, yet there was virtually no change/was business as usual last year with Steinhatchee and other northern locales

There has got to be a pretty simple explanation somewhere for it to be such a localized thing
I think the answer is simple. CR/Homosassa is and has been the Mecca for recreational bay scallop harvest for decades. The entire local economy has grown on the back of the scallop fishery and has expanded exponentially enabling thousands of boats and people to harvest at a single location year after year. Other areas that are producing lack the ramps, parking and hotels needed to support the shear number of visitors equating to less pressure and a more “viable” scallop population.

Ultimately the state is going to have to step in and attempt to save the fishery but so far political pressure from from the few making millions on the season have done an outstanding job keeping the seasons open and long. The goose that has been laying the golden egg is on life support and if harvest pressure continues at the current level it will take years of closures for them to recover to a sustainable level.
Old 07-02-2020, 07:12 AM
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Cant say how they will be since I last hit them 2 years ago, but worth a try. Will send you some spots later today.
Old 07-02-2020, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Flying_Norseman View Post
We’re in CR now. Renting a toon. The 40’ trip would be later.
We can take my boat for the dive trip later if you want.
Old 07-02-2020, 07:23 AM
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Awesome, thanks Grey!
Old 07-02-2020, 08:06 AM
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The Big Bend has several semi-isolated bay scallop populations that are separated by areas that lack good scallop habitat. They are considered a single metapopulation by some since there is some re-seeding from different populations.

The Homosassa/CR population has seen by far the greatest amount of pressure. Even during poor years like 2019, people keep collecting them right up to the end of the season. They spawn in the fall and need to be in fairly dense clusters in order for good fertilization of eggs and sperm to take place. Those clusters, which form as the result of good local habitat and tidal currents, are exactly where people collect them. If the density is too low, spawning and recruitment is disrupted and the local population crashes. This has little effect on disconnected populations.

If you find scallops in 40 ft, they are not bay scallops. Bay scallops need seagrass. The larvae settle out and attach to seagrass over the winter and drop off once they get larger in the spring. They move around a lot less during their lifespan than what you hear from people. Often less than a few hundred yards unless there are big storms. The scallops found in deeper water are calico scallops. They are in the upper Gulf, but I've never seen any in the Big Bend.

Old 07-02-2020, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dbdubb28 View Post
Awesome, thanks Grey!
PM sent.
Old 07-02-2020, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by DocStressor View Post
The Big Bend has several semi-isolated bay scallop populations that are separated by areas that lack good scallop habitat. They are considered a single metapopulation by some since there is some re-seeding from different populations.

The Homosassa/CR population has seen by far the greatest amount of pressure. Even during poor years like 2019, people keep collecting them right up to the end of the season. They spawn in the fall and need to be in fairly dense clusters in order for good fertilization of eggs and sperm to take place. Those clusters, which form as the result of good local habitat and tidal currents, are exactly where people collect them. If the density is too low, spawning and recruitment is disrupted and the local population crashes. This has little effect on disconnected populations.

If you find scallops in 40 ft, they are not bay scallops. Bay scallops need seagrass. The larvae settle out and attach to seagrass over the winter and drop off once they get larger in the spring. They move around a lot less during their lifespan than what you hear from people. Often less than a few hundred yards unless there are big storms. The scallops found in deeper water are calico scallops. They are in the upper Gulf, but I've never seen any in the Big Bend.
Very interesting, and after two days of scalloping in CR I can tell you that they are there, but they are few and far in between. As much as I love scalloping season, mostly for the kids, I would agree to a closure for a couple of years to bring the scallops back. I heard of better results in Homosassa and further north, but CR is dead as far as scalloping goes. We stayed in a hotel up there, rented a toon for two days, and went out to eat each day. Even being there at opening day I saw extremely few people in the restaurants and marinas and seriously question if the local economy would take that much of a hit if it was closed down for a season or two in that area. We will definitely search for other areas this year and next year, CR area needs to slow down the scallop harvesting or it will vanish.
Old 07-02-2020, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Flying_Norseman View Post
Very interesting, and after two days of scalloping in CR I can tell you that they are there, but they are few and far in between. As much as I love scalloping season, mostly for the kids, I would agree to a closure for a couple of years to bring the scallops back. I heard of better results in Homosassa and further north, but CR is dead as far as scalloping goes. We stayed in a hotel up there, rented a toon for two days, and went out to eat each day. Even being there at opening day I saw extremely few people in the restaurants and marinas and seriously question if the local economy would take that much of a hit if it was closed down for a season or two in that area. We will definitely search for other areas this year and next year, CR area needs to slow down the scallop harvesting or it will vanish.
It's a critter that only lives one year and reproduces one time.

Fairly simple math if you look at the reality of the fact!

The harvesters have a pretty good jump on those stats.

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