Become a Scallop-Sitter and Help Restore Scallops in the Florida Panhandle
Bay scallops (Argopecten irradians) may have a short life, typically only living for about a year, but they play a big role in the economies of many coastal, Floridian towns, like Steinhatchee and Port St. Joe. In 2016, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists began a 10-year project to restore bay scallops in Florida’s Panhandle. The initial effort for this restoration project is focused in St. Joseph and St. Andrew Bays. If you are a member of the community surrounding St. Joseph or St. Andrew Bay, you can help by volunteering to become a ‘scallop-sitter’ and maintain your own cage with scallops in your bay!
Project Goal: To increase depleted scallop populations in some bays and reintroduce scallops in other suitable areas from which scallops have disappeared.
How we restore scallops
- FWC biologists place wild and hatchery-raised scallops in cages in the bay.
- Cages protect scallops from predation.
- Cages likely increase the number of offspring produced, increasing the population size over time.
- Volunteers will maintain scallops in cages from April 2018 – Jan 2019.
- Cages will be placed either on your own private dock or in the bay using a boat or kayak.
- FWC will provide cages, scallops, and training during our workshop in April 2018.
- Together, we will help restore scallops in these bays.
What does it take to be a volunteer?
- Live near St. Andrew or St. Joseph Bay from April 2018 - January 2019.
- Access to the Bay: either a private dock, boat or kayak.
- Willing and able to clean scallop shells once a month.
- Attend or view via webinar FWC’s Scallop Restoration Workshop in April 2018.
If you are interested in becoming a scallop sitter in Gulf or Bay county please email us.