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The 2019 Great Scallop Search

For the last four years, Florida Sea Grant has held a “GREAT SCALLOP SEARCH” in Santa Rosa Sound and Big Lagoon to determine the status of this popular recreational fishery in our bay.  Though we do not find many, we continue to look in hopes they will one day return.

Scallops, and other bivalves, found in Big Lagoon.
Photo: Beth Fugate

We need volunteers to assist us with this.  Scallop seachers select a 1×1 nautical mile grid from either Big Lagoon or Santa Rosa Sound.  Some grids require a boat to reach and we do not provide that.  It works best if there are at least three members on the team; two snorkelers and one note taker.  Snorkel gear is not provided but a dive flag is.  Within the grid the team will extend a 50-meter (170′) line (provided) they will snorkel down to search.  Each snorkeler will have a 1-m (3.4′) piece of PVC (provided) they will use to know how far from the line to search.  Each team will be asked to complete four such lines (transects) within their assigned grid.  If a scallop is found, they will count and measure the first five they collect (calipers provided).  THIS IS A NO TAKE SURVEY since scallops are not allowed to be harvested in our area.  The data sheet will also ask questions about the seagrass you encounter as well as other species of interest; such as horseshoe crabs and lionfish.  Volunteers will return equipment and data sheets to Sea Grant when finished.

Bay Scallop
Photo: FWC

The training for those interested in surveying Big Lagoon will be Monday April 29 at the Southwest Branch Library near Perdido Key; 12248 Gulf Beach Highway.  The training will begin at 5:00 PM.  The training for Santa Rosa Sound will be later in May – stay tuned.  We ask that the Big Lagoon volunteers complete their survey by the end of June.

 

For more information contact Rick O’Connor; 850-475-5230 ext 111; roc1@ufl.edu