Scallops on the rebound as state opens season Saturday

Published: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 09:32 AM.

The average number of scallops observed in St. Joseph Bay doubled this year as researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg conducted their surveys.

Each year, researchers place 20 transect lines of 300 meters in length at 12 stations around the bay.

The configuration works like this: the first station is just off the boat ramp at Frank Pate Park and researchers work in a horseshoe around the south end of the bay and up to T. H. Stone St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.

In all, roughly 12,000 square meters of the bay are surveyed, a diver dipping underwater at one end of each transect and counting scallops along the length of the line.

Last year, after banner years in 2010 and 2011, the average number of scallops per transect line in St. Joseph Bay was 10.9.

This year, researchers found 23 scallops per transect line, indicating a successful year for juvenile growth, said a spokesperson with the Research Institute.

“They are a little bit up from last year,” said Kevin Baxter from the Research Institute. “Looking at past years, the numbers didn’t rebound to that level but they are higher.”



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