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Participate in Tampa Bay's Treasure Hunt!

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The 22nd Annual Great Bay Scallop Search is Saturday, August 22, 9am - 1pm

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteer boats to participate in the Great Bay Scallop Search on Saturday, August 22. The event is a resource monitoring program where community volunteers snorkel to search for scallops in select areas within Boca Ciega and Lower Tampa Bays. The event has been conducted annually since 1993 with the goal to monitor and document the health and status of the local bay scallop population. Tampa Bay Watch will coordinate 45 volunteer boaters with more than 180 participants to search selected sites for the elusive bay scallops. Volunteers with shallow draft boats are still needed for the event. Go to for more information.

Reservations are required for the Great Bay Scallop Search. Registered scallop searchers will meet Saturday, August 22 at 9:00 am at the Fort De Soto Boat Ramp in Tierra Verde to receive survey equipment and instructions for the monitoring event. At each site, a weighted transect line 50 meters in length is laid along seagrass beds. Snorkelers count scallops along each side of the transect line, within one meter of each side, creating a 100 square meter survey area. Registration fills up very quickly, so don't hesitate to sign up today!

Click here to register your boat.

Bay scallops or Argopecten irradians are secretive bivalves in the same family as clams and oysters. They may reach a shell size of three inches, and they spend their short twelve to eighteen month life span hiding in waters with seagrasses like those of Tampa Bay. Scallops are filter feeders, therefore they are highly sensitive to changes in water quality and can be used to measure an ecosystem’s health and signal changes in water quality. Adult bay scallops can pump as much as 15.5 quarts of water per hour, improving water quality that results in long-term growth of seagrass beds. Although bay scallops are edible, it is illegal to harvest scallops in Tampa Bay in order for restoration efforts to be successful.