Lingering red tide impacts likely to blame for scarcity of scallops in Pine Island Sound
Researchers believe that a lack of bay scallops in Pine Island Sound is the result of 2018's extensive red tide bloom, which caused massive fish kills along Southwest Florida beaches that year. Saturday, dozens of volunteer snorkelers went out into the sound for the 2019 annual scallop study, and only found one scallop in a roughly 50-square-mile survey area.
"The lowest number we've ever found," said Mark Thompson of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. "Some years, we've found between 100 to 200 over the survey area."
The scallops have been an important food source for many species of wildlife.
"It's terrible news to hear that they only found one scallop," said James Douglass, Ph.D., a professor with Florida Gulf Coast University's Marine and Ecological Sciences department.