Sarasota Bay Watch Happenings by Larry Stults

Our Scallop Sanctuary Program is off to a great start!  We established 5 scallop sanctuaries around the bay using specially designed cages provided by Sarasota County, with each cage containing 30 young adult scallops.  These cages protect the growing scallops from predators and keep them together, which will be important this Fall when they mature and are ready to spawn.  Two months ago, when the sanctuaries were first set up, the young scallops were about 20 mm to 25 mm, now they’ve grown to 40 mm to 50 mm and are well on their way to full adulthood.  Survivability has been very high, thanks in part to tireless efforts of Sarasota Bay Watch volunteers who visit the cages every other week to measure growth, scrub the cages and clean algae and barnacle growth off the scallops.  Two of the cages were lost to boat strikes, but they will be replaced soon and we will work on making the cages more visible to boaters.

Each sanctuary has the potential to produce multiple natural spawns over the course of the upcoming breeding season this Fall, with each spawn producing tens of millions of larvae.  This could be a turning point in our Scallop Restoration Program and a substantial step towards re-establishing scallops to Sarasota Bay. Keep your fingers crossed!  Check out Sarasota Bay Watch’s Facebook page for more photos of scallop, as well as other volunteer evens.

Save the Date:  Grab your snorkeling gear!  Our Annual Scallop Search is coming up August 29, generously hosted again this year by the Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant & Pub.  Registration for this event opens soon.

Save the Date: Put on your dancing shoes!  Our Annual Scallopalooza fundraiser to support scallop restoration is fast approaching.  Mark your calendar for an evening of food and fun on October 3rd, hosted again by our friends at the Sarasota Yacht Club.  More details available soon.

Visit sarasotabaywatch.org and our Facebook page for updates and the latest news from around the bay.

Photo by Rusty Chinnis

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