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Snorkelers, boats sought for Pine Island Sound Scallop Search

July 17, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Florida Sea Grant - UF/IFAS Lee County Extension are organizing the Pine Island Sound Scallop Search on Aug. 17. Volunteers are needed from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to snorkel in select areas within the Pine Island Sound looking for scallops.

The purpose of the program is to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population and it is designed to be a family event. Advance reservations are required; space is limited.

This is a no harvest event.

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The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Florida Sea Grant — UF/IFAS Lee County Extension are in need of volunteers for the Pine Island Sound Scallop Search on Aug. 17. Bay scallops disappeared from Southwest Florida water decades ago, but there have been some modest comeback attempts.

Along with 110 volunteer snorkelers, up to 40 boats are needed to search selected sites in the Pine Island Sound and San Carlos Bay for the "bay scallop." Large populations of the species (Argopecten irradians) disappeared from Southwest Florida waters decades ago due in large part to degraded water quality, related declines in seagrass acreage, over harvesting and other causes. Water quality and seagrasses have improved in many areas to levels that may once again support the bivalves.

Volunteers with shallow draft boats are being sought; organizers will need to know the style and size of the boat. Organizers would also like to know how many additional people can fit on the boat so they can pair them up with additional snorkelers. Canoes and kayaks are also welcome; personal water crafts (Jet Skis) are not. Those with dive flags should bring them. Again, the sites are limited; sign up early.

Volunteers need to bring: a mask, snorkel and gloves, and be able to snorkel/swim 50 meters (about 150 feet) along the bottom - fins and weight belt are optional, but suggested.

Volunteers will meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Pineland Marina, at 13921 Waterfront Drive, Bokeelia, to receive survey equipment and instructions for the event. Lunch will be provided afterward.

Reservations are required and survey sites and equipment are limited.

To reserve a spot as a volunteer, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-pine-island-sound-scallop-search-tickets-64169506722.

 
 

 

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