It's that time again — time to register for the annual Great Bay Scallop Search.
Not familiar with it? Well, it's just the wettest, funnest thing you can do at the end of a long hot summer — and, hey, bonus, at the end of the day, you've actually done some good.
Here's how it works: You can use your own boat or ride along on someone else's boat. Tampa Bay Watch will show you where to search. When you get to the area you're supposed to search, you hop out of the boat and start snorkeling, keeping a sharp eye out for those 32-blue-eyed bivalves that lurk in seagrasses. You count 'em and report what you count.
So, why? I mean, you can't keep 'em and eat 'em (that's something you do up Homosassa way, not here in Tampa Bay), so why bother?
Because bay scallop populations are indicators of water quality and bay health, that's why. And healthy water means healthy fish, healthy birds, healthy ecosystems and — if we're not waxing too prosaic here — a healthy planet. Tampa Bay Watch has conducted the annual search for 24 years — this year will be its silver anniversary scallop search, so buy it something pretty, would ya? — and in that year, they've done an excellent job of tracking bay health via these blue-eyed beauties.
But it all starts with you, donning a swimsuit and swimming around, counting scallops. So, get on it — after all, it's a great excuse to spend a morning on the water, if nothing else.
Great Bay Scallop Search | Fort DeSoto Boat Ramp, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde | Aug. 25: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Register your boat here, or, if you want to join another boat, register here (the canoe and kayak registration is already full) | 727-867-8166