Scallops disappearing from Sarasota Bay

Rusty Chinnis, president of Sarasota Bay Watch, led the search for scallops in local waters.

More than 100 volunteers teamed up to count scallops in Sarasota Bay last weekend.

Area residents, along with Longboater and Sarasota Bay Watch President Rusty Chinnis, joined forces to count scallops last weekend. The findings were not encouraging. In fact, the population of scallops in the bay has plummeted since the Sarasota Bay Watch group held its first scallop search in 2008.

More than 100 volunteers searched the bay waters from New Pass in Sarasota to the northern tip of Anna Maria Island last Saturday morning and found only 15 bay scallops.

In the search’s debut year, the volunteers found more than 900 scallops on the bay floor. The group found 180 bay scallops last year, which was still considered a strong presence.

Scallops are highly sensitive mollusks and their presence, or lack thereof, is a reliable barometer for water quality. The population often fluctuates and is affected by storm-water runoff, red tide or algal blooms and especially low salinity caused by heavy rainfall or rivers flushing into the bay.

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1 Response for “Scallops disappearing from Sarasota Bay”

  1. mark rieke says:

    I was wondering if this has anything to do with the British Petroleum disaster…

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