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Volunteers needed for annual scallop search

By Staff | Jun 10, 2015

Join Florida Sea Grant, UF/IFAS Lee County Extension and the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation by participating in the 2015 Pine Island Sound Scallop Search, a resource-monitoring program in which volunteers snorkel, looking for scallops in select areas within Pine Island Sound.

The July 18 event is sponsored by Lee County Parks & Recreation, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, Friends of Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve and Pineland Marina.

The purpose of the project is to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population.

Up to 40 boats are needed with as many as 150 participants to search selected sites in Pine Island Sound and San Carlos Bay for the elusive “bay scallop.”

Large populations of bay scallops (or 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 these important bivalves.

Reservations are required to participate in the event. Space is limited; reserve your spot now. Scallop searchers will meet at 8:30 a.m. July 18 at Pineland Marina, 13921 Waterfront Drive, Pineland, FL, 33922, to receive survey equipment and instructions for the monitoring event. Lunch will be provided to participants once they return to shore and report information.

Note: This is a no harvest event.

Sign up at 2015pineislandsoundscallopsearch.eventbrite.com or by emailing hazellje@leegov.com or calling the FL Sea Grant / Lee County Extension office at 239-533-7518.