I was lucky enough to be asked by my friend Victoria to captain a boat in the 2014 Racks and Reels Ladies Fishing Tournament to benefit the American Cancer Society this past weekend. Normally, planning a fishing trip where you aren't allowed to fish sounds like torture, but there were a few things that made this trip one of the most fun yet:
Of the marine bivavle mollusks in Florida, none is a better indicator of water quality than the lowly bay scallop. In the Big Bend Region of Florida where the water quality is better, a sustainable scallop population thrives enough to support a recreational scallop season. In Southwest Florida, however, the declining water quality over the past decades has decimated the once plentiful scallop population. However, scallops are slowly making a comeback. Increased awareness of the fragility of our estuarine ecosystems led by organizations like Florida Sea Grant, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation has led to a resurgence of this modest, yet really really tasty mollusk. But you can't harvest them here in SWFL. Yet.