Monthly Archives: July 2011
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) began a one year survey to assess the stock of striped mullet (sometimes called black mullet) in Charlotte Harbor and Tampa Bay in February of this year. The last stock assessment for this species took place in 2005. For over a century they were a mainstay of commercial fisheries in southwest Florida.
In past Marine Scene editions we have noted that there is encouraging evidence that bay scallops in southwest Florida may be recovering almost 40 years after their disappearance in the early 1970s. Citizens can play an important role in helping scientist document whether this trend will continue and determine the extent of recovery. To do this we need long-term data from several areas throughout southwest Florida. You can help by volunteering a fun-filled day to assist with the four scallop searches listed below.
High temperatures and cloudy, rainy days can spell trouble for fish in Florida’s marine and freshwater habitats. These conditions can cause fish kills, which are natural occurrences that typically do not cause permanent damage to the ecosystem or to fish populations.
Nevertheless the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your help tracking these die-offs. FWC scientists record and monitor the location and extent of fish kills in natural lakes and estuaries to see if there are problems developing in an ecosystem that might require investigation or restorative measures.
Many factors may contribute to a fish kill. Some fish kills are complex and involve a variety of factors that may not be easily discernable. However, most common causes of kills in brackish estuaries, freshwater lakes and man-made retention ponds are well understood by scientists.
Fish kills are commonly caused by weather-related factors. Sudden temperature fluctuations or extreme temperatures can result in fish kills any time of the year. Hot weather during the summer months can cause fish kills because warm water holds less oxygen than cold water. In addition, a lack of rain during hot-weather months lowers the water levels in the system, allowing the water to heat even more, which further depletes oxygen levels.
Granted the thought of worms in a fish you just caught and plan to eat is not an appealing one, but occasionally anglers do come across them while cleaning their catch. Fortunately, while unsightly, they pose little risk to fish consumers. It is important to remember two key points. First, worms and other parasites naturally occur in most fish species, and second, while certain parasites can infect people, properly handling and preparing your catch will render these parasites harmless.
China Number One, Followed by U.S. and Europe
China leads the way in investing in renewable clean energy technologies (wind, solar, biomass, biofuels, etc.). China investments totaled approximately $54 billion in these technologies compared to about $30 billion in the U.S. China is by far the largest investor in wind energy sources at $45 billion compared to $17 billion in the U.S. This may come as a surprise to many folks as we often hear that China is building an average of one coal fuel power plant per week. However, you may recall that in a past Marine Scene article, “A Tale of Two Chinas” http://manatee.ifas.ufl.edu/seagrant/pdfs/newsletter/marine-scene-may-june-2010.pdf, China seems to be determined to be a leader in renewable energy technology in the future.
The combined investments of the European countries is slightly behind that of the U.S. Interestingly, Germany, the fourth largest world economy, has just announced that it will retire all of its nuclear generating capacity over the next decade as the result of the nuclear accident in Japan. It will develop wind, solar and natural gas generating capacity to make up the difference.
Are you a Manatee County resident interested in participating in the longest-running advisory committee on Tampa Bay and its watershed? Do you have an interest in the issues and challenges surrounding Tampa Bay and a desire to be involved in developing solutions? Are you associated with the bay or its surroundings through your business or hobby and want to be part of managing these vital resources?
If so, consider representing the county on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s Agency on Bay Management (ABM). There are Manatee County representative spots for recreational, commercial and industrial interests as well as the Region-at-Large. The agency meets every other month in Pinellas Park, with committees (optional participation) meeting in the alternate months.
If you are interested or want more information, please contact Suzanne Cooper, ABM staff, at 727-570-5151 x 32 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Historical maps and charts reveal that the Sarasota Bay once supported a vibrant oyster community. The two sites for this project were physically disturbed and the oyster communities destroyed by coastal development during the 1960s.
This project builds on the success of an earlier pilot project in Sarasota Bay which demonstrated that prospective locations for building new oyster habitats were substrate limited. Oysters will not recover without the introduction of suitable and sufficient substrate material. The Estuary Program Team created 4.5 acres of oyster habitat at two locations in Sarasota Bay, Florida: 1) 2.5 acres at White Beach in Sarasota County, and 2) 2 acres at the Gladiola Fields in Manatee County. Both locations offered unique opportunities to create oyster habitat where none was currently present. White Beach is in a highly urbanized setting that once supported oyster beds, but shoreline alterations and residential development have since destroyed them. The Gladiola Fields lie adjacent to suburban agricultural fields, and the creation of oyster habitat in this area should, among other benefits, improve local water quality by filtering stormwater and nutrient-enriched drainage from these fields.
Local anglers just got a bunch of good news! Approximately 70,000 tons of Skyway material is headed to the 3-mile north artificial reef. This deployment will dwarf all previous artificial reef deployments. The deployment will continue for the next two to four months and anglers are asked to avoid the area during this time. This should result in a spectacular new reef in the long-term. Manatee County anglers can thank the Manatee Co. Dept. of Natural Resources for their hard work in making this happen. A recent UF/Florida Sea Grant report has documented that Manatee County’s artificial reef system is extensively used by residents and visitors alike — the reef system generates almost $25 million in artificial reef related expenditures. Sounds like a pretty wise investment to me. The next issue of the Marine Scene will contain more detailed information on the economic benefits of artificial reefs throughout southwest Florida.