The University of Florida/Charlotte County Sea Grant Extension Great Bay Scallop Search is a resource-monitoring program where volunteers snorkel, looking for scallops in select seagrass areas to monitor and document the status of the bay scallop population.
Bay scallops disappeared from Southwest Florida waters decades ago due to degraded water quality and loss of seagrass. Water quality and seagrass beds have since improved.
About 40 shallow draft boats are needed with up to 150 participants. Canoes and kayaks welcome. Snorkelers without boats may participate via kayak compliments of Grande Tours. Scallop searchers will meet at 9 a.m. at Gasparilla Marina to receive survey equipment and instructions. Lunch will be provided once you return to shore.
Volunteers need to bring a mask, snorkel and gloves and be able to snorkel/swim 50 meters (about 150 feet) - fins and weight belt are optional.