The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 43 - August 10, 2011

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Help monitor scallops in the bay

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Participants at the 2010 Scallop Search at the Mar Vista get
instructions and an introduction to scallops in the FMRI
touch tank.

Island residents are encouraged to get their heads wet Saturday, Aug. 13, during Sarasota Bay Watch's fourth annual Scallop Search at the Mar Vista Dockside restaurant on Longboat Key. The 2011 Scallop Search is funded through a grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, from the Robert R. Harlan and Susan H. Lowy Harlan Fund. The Chiles Group is once again hosting the event and providing participants with lunch at their beautiful venue on the bay. The Anna Maria Island Sun is the T-shirt sponsor for the fourth year.

The purpose of event is to help to monitor the abundance of scallops in bay waters and support scientists at the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). Participants will be provided with instructions, two transects (areas) to search and a five gallon bucket with the tools to complete a sample. Each bucket contains a 50 meters (150 feet long) of line with a buoy at each end. Swimmers stretch the line out in their transect and swim down both sides with a PVC pipe one meter long. This allows participants to cover 100 square meters. These search areas (each participant or boat searches two transects), when combined with the other 98 transects, can then be extrapolated to provide a good idea of the abundance of scallops in the bay in general. Professional surveys provide a similar search approach. Events like these in Sarasota Bay, Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound are providing scientists with valuable information to monitor the health and distribution of scallops in the bay systems on the west coast of Florida. This is not a harvest event.

Participants should bring sunscreen, hat and sunglasses, mask, snorkel and water shoes (fins optional). There only will be a total of 50 boats. Kayaks, paddle boards and canoes are welcome. Those that want to participate but do not have a boat can sign on as a crew member. Searchers will be equipped and trained on how to search for scallops in seagrass, and experts from the FWRI will be on hand to answer questions. There will also be a touch tank on display with live scallops. Come by boat to the Mar Vista dock or you can launch nearby at the Coquina Beach boat ramp. If you're coming by car, you may park on the streets in Longboat Key Village where parking is allowed. Please try not to park in the restaurant parking lot and be considerate when choosing a place to park in the village.

Scallop searchers are required to attend the captain's meeting at 8 a.m. at the Mar Vista restaurant, 760 Broadway St., north Longboat Key (just 2 miles south of the BeachHouse restaurant, next to Moore's Stone Crab restaurant). Search starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 12:30 p.m. with a complimentary lunch (for active search participants only) at the Mar Vista.

Sarasota Bay Watch is a grass-roots, non-profit, citizen-based organization dedicated to preserving and restoring Sarasota Bay's ecosystem through education and citizen participation. You can become an active participant by joining as a member and volunteering in Sarasota Bay Watch's on-going effort to protect and restore this valuable natural resource.

Some of our in-water activities for both adults and children include:

• Scallop searches;

• Beach and mangrove clean-ups;

• Monitoring habitats and marine life;

• Shoreline restoration;

• Environmentally-friendly fishing instruction.

We also host land-based activities including educational outreach and informative lectures on current issues and topics. To sign up for the Scallop Search and become a member of Sarasota Bay Watch go to our website at

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper