Volunteers needed for Scallop count
Tampa Bay once had a thriving bay scallop fishery. However, years of habitat destruction and unregulated pollution nearly wiped out the scallop population in local waters. But thanks to strict water-quality regulations and the efforts of nonprofit groups such as Tampa Bay Watch, scallops are making a comeback.
Water sports enthusiasts can still help this bivalve by turning out for the annual Great Bay Scallop Search on Aug. 18. Volunteer boaters and snorkelers are needed to scour select areas within Boca Ciega and lower Tampa Bay for scallops.
Since 1993, hundreds of volunteers have helped count scallops every August, and the data gathered may some day lead to the reopening of recreational scalloping in local waters. Tampa Bay Watch hopes to get 45 volunteer boaters and more than 180 snorkelers to participate this year.
Many factors, including red tide, rainfall and tropical storms, play a role in the health of the scallop population. In 2009, volunteers counted a high of 674 scallops. But the number fell to 32 in 2010 and five in 2011.
To participate in the search, register at tampabaywatch.org.
Gun, knife show this weekend
The Hernando Sportsman's Club is sponsoring its annual summer gun and knife show at the Hernando County Fairgrounds (6436 Broad St., Brooksville) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6, though children 16 and under are admitted free with an adult. For information, call (352) 799-3605 or go to hernando sportsmansclub.com.
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