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Capt. Tommy Thompson's Saltwater Angler's Guides

Tag: sea grant

Grab your mask and summon your adventurous spirit! Join us under the sea as we search for the elusive bay scallop in Charlotte Harbor! But don’t wait too late — space is limited!

by on Jun.27, 2014, under Ft. Myers, Sanibel and Captiva, Middle Charlotte Harbor, Upper Charlotte Harbor

Saturday, July 26, 2014
9 am-2 pm
Calling Volunteer Boaters and Snorkelers!
Approximately 40 boats and up to 150 snorkelers are needed!
Join us in a resource monitoring program to document the health and status of bay scallop populations by snorkeling and looking for scallops in select areas.

This is a **No Harvest** event.

We are recruiting:
Volunteers with shallow draft boats. Canoes and kayaks are also welcome. Please let us know if you can take additional snorkelers on your boat. And please bring a dive flag if you have one.
Snorkelers without boats are welcome; however, boat spaces are limited.
Volunteers need to bring sunscreen, a mask, snorkel and gloves, and be able to snorkel/swim 50 meters (about 150 feet). Fins/weight belt are optional.

Scallop searchers will meet at Gasparilla Marina to receive survey equipment and instructions for the monitoring event. Lunch will be provided once you return to shore.

Reservations are required to participate in the event and space is limited so reserve your spot today!

Registration and More Information
Contact the Organizer | 941-764-4346 | UF/IFAS Charlotte Co. Extension on Facebook

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Citrus and Taylor County Scalloping Guide Available, Summer 2014

by on Jun.25, 2014, under Chassahowitzka and Homosassa, Keaton Beach to Fenholloway, Ozello to Crystal River, Steinhatchee

The new Citrus County guide features completely updated boat ramp and marina locator that Florida Sea Grant has published for the last several years.


And don’t forget about the companion, the Taylor County scalloping guide and marina locator map.

Both guides feature historically abundant scalloping areas, boat ramp and marina locations, rules and regulations, and recipes!

Readers can order one free copy of each brochure by emailing us at info@flseagrant.org, or calling us at (352) 392-2801, or downloading the whole thing at  https://www.flseagrant.org/fisheries/scalloping/

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Learning To Live With Red Tide

by on Feb.28, 2013, under FLORIDA'S BIG BEND AND EMERALD COAST, TAMPA BAY AND SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Learning To Live With Red Tide

February 28, 2013 | Posted by John Stevely, Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent
Concentrations of this organism (Karenia brevis) can reach millions of cell per quart of water during red tide events. Photo: FWC.

Check out the Beach Conditions Report

Since the devastating red tide of 2005, we have been fortunate in that there have only been infrequent minor red tide events along Florida’s southwest coast. During 2005, residents and tourists were subjected to what seemed like endless months of dead fish washing up on our beaches and beach-goers fled our beaches due to the respiratory distress caused by the neurotoxin produced by the red tide organism – the stench from rotting fish didn’t help matters. Newspapers trumpeted headlines about “dead zones” in the Gulf where essentially every living creature had died.

Red tide is caused by the presence of a microscopic plant-like organism that secretes a nuerotoxin.

Unfortunately, in recent months, there have numerous reports of red tide along Florida’s southwest coastline. We can only hope that we do not see a repeat of the 2005 red tide event during the upcoming year. Such severe red tides like we saw back then usually only occur once every several decades, but there are no guarantees.

Fish killed by red tide. Photo: Tony Reisinger

Red tide is a natural phenomenon.  Accounts of red tides have been reported since the days of the Spanish explorers. Currently, there is debate among scientists as to the extent to which nutrients in urban run-off prolongs and/or intensifies red tide events. Following the red tide of 2005 several local governments have adopted ordinances aimed at trying to reduce nutrient enrichment of run-off by regulating the use of lawn fertilizers. However, even if such measures prove to be effective in reducing the severity of red tide, we will never completely eliminate red tide.

Now we have a tool to help us cope with red tides. Thanks to the Internet you can quickly check the Beach Conditions Report. This website provides a real-time assessment of how severely red tide is affecting local beaches (reports on individual beaches are supposed to be updated twice a day). Information is provided on whether dead fish are present and whether beach-goers are experiencing respiratory problems.

How is this helpful? Let’s say you were thinking of spending a day at the beach or perhaps just enjoying dining at a waterfront restaurant. A few days ago or perhaps last week you remember hearing something about there being red tide in local waters. The prospect of coughing and smelling rotting fish causes you to abandon your plans. However, by checking the Beach Conditions Report you can determine if this is really necessary.

It is important to note that red tide conditions can change from day to day and from beach to beach as water currents sweep the red tide along the coast. Perhaps conditions at your favorite beach have dramatically changed in the past week or even from a few days ago. Perhaps you see that red tide is indeed present at the beach, but conditions at a beach just 10 miles away are fine and you can still take the kids to the beach. My experience has been that this is indeed possible. For example, today (2/28/2013) beach-goers at Siesta Key can expect to experience some slight respiratory distress, but everything seems fine at the Manatee Co. beaches.

We may not be able to completely eliminate red tide, but at least now you can easily obtain the information you need to make good decisions on your water related activities during red tides.

Want more Red Tide information? Check out these websites.

Charlotte Co. Sea Grant Red Tide Fact Sheet

FWC Red Tide Status Report and links to other Red Tide informational links

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Need Reef Information for Bay County Florida? Here’s a Good Link to ArcGIS Info

by on Jan.11, 2013, under Panama City, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and St. Joseph Bay

It’s often hard to find specific information and GPS coordinates of reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.  Of course, there’s a listing for Bay County  in my book, The Saltwater Angler’s Guide to Florida’s Big Bend and Emerald Coast but many of us have a hard time putting a visual image together from a simple list.  Thanks to the folks at Florida Sea Grant Extension Service and ArcGIS, here’s a link to a website with an interactive map. Just click on the static image below and you’ll be taken to the interactive page.

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