Sarasota Bay Watch Happenings by Larry Stults

2013 Scallop Restoration Is Off To A Great Start

Sarasota Bay Watch got an early start to scallop restoration this year, releasing it’s first batch of scallop larvae (6.7 million) on September 12th. This compares to last year’s November 10th first release, where scallop spawning was held back due to red tide threats. SBW quickly followed up the initial release with additional releases of 5.5 million and 9 million larvae, the latter in the middle of the recent historic flooding rainstorms! Scallop larvae need to get into the bay 10 days after spawning when they are ready to settle out of the water onto sea grass so SBW volunteers are on the water rain or shine to get the job done.

This year SBW also kept 100,000 scallop babies at the Bay Shellfish Co. so that the hatchery could grow them up to juvenile stage. This is an expensive step and the capacity to grow juveniles is much less than that for larvae. However, it is a very exciting development because not only will the scallops be large enough to see and touch, but it also enables SBW to release scallops at a later life cycle that hopefully will help avoid early life cycle predation. Since so little is know about successful scallop restoration we are trying lots of different approaches to re-establish stable breeding populations in Sarasota Bay.

Separately, SBW joined forces with Sarasota CREW kids to cleanup the bird rookeries and mangrove fringes around the Jim Neville Marine Preserve and Midnight Pass area. It was a great event that netted lots of fishing line and tackle (which entangle and kill sea birds) as well as loads of trash. We hope to do it again next year with our new friends at CREW

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