PROVIDED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA - Join the University of Florida/Charlotte County Sea Grant Extension program by participating in the 2013 Great Bay Scallop Search on Saturday, Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration for the event begins at 8:15 a.m. and everyone will meet at Gasparilla Marina.
This is a no-harvest, resource-monitoring program where volunteers snorkel, looking for scallops in select areas within Gasparilla Sound and lower Lemon Bay. The purpose of this program is to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population. Reservations are required to participate in the event. Space is limited so reserve your spot today. This event is designed to be a fun family event.
About 40 boats are needed with up to 150 participants to search selected sites in Gasparilla Sound and lower Lemon Bay for the elusive bay scallops. Bay scallops, the Argopecten irradians, disappeared from Southwest Florida waters decades ago due to degraded water quality and declines in seagrass coverage. Water quality and seagrass beds have since improved in many areas to levels that will once again support these fragile creatures.
Scallop searchers will meet at Gasparilla Marina, 15001 Gasparilla Rd., Placida, to receive survey equipment and instructions for the monitoring event. Lunch will be provided once participants return to shore.
Volunteers with shallow draft boats are needed. Let search leaders know the style and size of your boat. Canoes and kayaks are also welcome. Bring a dive flag if you have one.
Let search leaders know how many additional people you can take on your boat so they can pair you up with additional snorkelers.
Snorkelers without boats are welcome; however, boat space is limited. Snorkelers without boats may participate via a kayak from Grande Tours. Reserve yours when you register (not through Grande Tours).
Volunteers need to bring a mask, snorkel and gloves and be able to snorkel/swim 50 meters (about 150 feet) — fins and weight belt are optional.
Reservations are required and survey sites and equipment are limited. The Scallop Search promises to be a popular event — so sign up early. You can find more information at 2013lbgsgreatbayscallopsearch.eventbrite.com/.
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