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Water-Related News

Lots of baby scallops found at Mote restoration site in Sarasota Bay

By Stacy Alexander

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists and a Japanese colleague recently tallied a record number of “baby” scallops from their restoration site in Sarasota Bay — good news for Mote’s community-wide partnership working to replenish the Bay’s depleted scallop populations.

Florida’s scallop populations fell dramatically around 1960. The reasons are not fully understood but are thought to include decreased water quality, extreme red tides, destruction of seagrass habitat and overharvesting. To restore Sarasota Bay populations and study which strategies work, Mote is working with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Sarasota Bay Watch, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, Sarasota County, Bay Shellfish Co., local business leaders, and most importantly, many volunteer citizen scientists. Partners are placing young scallops into the Bay, monitoring for recovery and working to improve environmental quality and expand community involvement.