Water-Related News

Tide turns for bay scallops, restoration continues in Tarpon Bay

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Standing in the chest-deep water of Tarpon Bay this week, Eric Milbrandt handed a cage full of bay scallops to Sarah Bridenbaugh aboard a Carolina Skiff.

Milbrandt, director of the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Marine Laboratory, and research assistant Bridenbaugh weren't harvesting the tasty mollusks (harvesting bay scallops south of the Pasco-Hernando county line is illegal).

Instead, the caged scallops would be cleaned, counted and measured by Bridenbaugh and interns Krystal Silas, Emily Anderson and Chrissy McCrimmon for an ongoing scallop restoration project.

"Old-timers talk about collecting buckets of scallops in the 1950s and '60s," Milbrant said. "What we're trying to do is re-establish a local population of scallops. We'd like to see a population that can sustain a recreational harvest, but we're quite a long way from that."