Sanibel and Captiva real estate owners benefit from a healthy and active water ecosystem. One very important element of this fragile ecosystem is the slowly growing population of “bay scallops” in the Pine Island Sound.
According to the News-Press, “Large populations of bay scallops … disappeared from Southwest Florida decades ago due in large part to degraded water quality, related declines in seagrass acreage, over-harvesting and other causes.”
As water quality and other aspects of the aquatic ecosystem in the region have improved, the population of scallops has been gradually increasing. In order to monitor this change, three organizations, the University of Florida’s Florida Sea Grant and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation have partnered to host an annual all-hands-on-deck community outreach event to survey the waters of the Pine Island Sound.
Through their efforts, these volunteers and trained staff from across the Southwest Florida region will contribute to the research and knowledge of the return of this important species.
Interested individuals are encouraged to follow this link for more information and to register: 2015 Pine Island Sound Scallop Search. According to the event, there are currently less than 30 tickets available for volunteers to boat, snorkel, and kayak around the sound on Saturday, July 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
According to the event Facebook page, there are already three more scallop search events planned in Lemon Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Tampa Bay. The search for scallops in the Pine Island Sound is in conjunction with a regional effort to monitor and, if possible, support these valuable island neighbors.