125 registered for scallop and hard clam search

September 6, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor,
We had 125 persons register for the August Great Bay Scallop & Hard Clam Search in Placida. We had horrible weather!! You may remember that the weather pattern was very unusual, with storms in the morning. All of the teams (16) headed out, but five teams weren’t even able to get out of their boats to do a survey. Storms popped up and most had to run for cover. Only four teams were able to complete all four of their surveys. Conditions for volunteers really depended upon where they were assigned to search (we cover all of Charlotte County waters in Lemon Bay and Gasparilla Sound).
The storms had everything stirred up. General consensus was that the visibility was very poor this year. I’m not sure volunteers would have been able to find a scallop if it were right under their noses under those conditions. The volunteers really tried hard. It just wasn’t in the cards for us to have a search that day.
Final counts were zero scallops and 15 hard clams.
On a good note, I have gotten reports of scallops this year (some complete with photos). So I know some are out there. In fact, one report, from the Aquatic Preserves, came from the east side of Charlotte Harbor, a location we rarely see bay scallops at (although within their historic range). I suspect that, had volunteers not been dodging storms, we may have found additional hard clams too.
Elizabeth Staugler, Extension Agent
Florida Sea Grant College Program, UF/IFAS
Extension Charlotte County, Port Charlotte, FL