Volunteers are needed on Saturday, August 17, from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. to snorkel in select areas within Pine Island Sound looking for scallops. This year’s event is being organized by SCCF and Florida Sea Grant - UF/IFAS Lee County Extension.
The purpose of this program is to monitor and document the health and status of the bay scallop population and is designed to be a fun family event. Advance reservations are required and space is limited so reserve your spot today on Eventbrite here.
Along with 110 volunteer snorkelers, up to 40 boats are needed to search selected sites in Pine Island Sound and San Carlos Bay for the elusive “bay scallop.” Large populations of bay scallops (or Argopecten irradians) disappeared from Southwest Florida waters decades ago due in large part to degraded water quality, related declines in seagrass acreage, over harvesting and other causes. Water quality and seagrasses have improved in many areas to levels that may once again support these important bivalves.
Scallop searchers will meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pineland Marina, 13921 Waterfront Dr, Bokeelia, FL., to receive survey equipment and instructions for the monitoring event. We will provide lunch to participants once you return to shore and report your information.
* * * * NOTE: THIS IS A NO HARVEST EVENT * * * *
Needed are volunteers with shallow draft boats. Please let us know the style and size of your boat. Canoes and kayaks are also welcome, but sites are very limited, please sign up early. Jet skis are not allowed in the search. Please bring a dive flag if you have one.
Please let us know how many additional people you can take on your boat so we can pair you up with additional snorkelers.
Snorkelers without boats are welcome, however space is limited.
Volunteers need to bring: a mask, snorkel and gloves and be able to snorkel/swim 50 meters (about 150 feet) along the bottom—fins and weight belt are optional but suggested.
Reservations are required and survey sites and equipment are limited. The Scallop Search promises to be a popular event—so sign up early!