When fishing, reeling a fish up from deep water (>~40ft+) can often cause barotrauma for the fish. The changes in pressure can cause physiological stress to the fish, including an over-expanded swim bladder. A growing body of research reveals grouper, snapper, and other reef fish suffering from barotraumas can survive if properly released and quickly allowed to return to safe habitat.
Until recently, the best management practice for barotraumas was fish venting. However, new release methods and fish descending gear are showing promising results. By increasing the survival rates of fish they release, anglers can help make Florida’s fisheries healthier and more robust.
Thursday, March 6th, John Stevely of Florida Sea Grant will present “Hook, Line, and Sink Em: A Study of Fish Descending Methods” at the Salty Topics speaker series. The talk starts at 7pm at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702.
Susan Bell, will present “Sandy Beaches: Human Impacts on the ecology of a Coastal Habitat” this Thursday, February 6th. Coastal Sandy beaches are sites of much human recreation and development . However, the ecology of this coastal ecosystem is relatively unknown. Sandy beaches contain a unique assemblage of fauna, especially within the sandy sediments, that is highly utilized as food by waterbirds, fish, and ghost crabs. Human impacts on beaches include: removal of wrack, alteration of shorelines, and/ or enhancing conditions, and potentially oil spills. Dr. Bell will address how these human actions can potentially impact the wildlife that live on and in beach systems.
Dr. Susan Bell, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, received her Ph.D. in 1979 in Marine Science from the University of South Carolina. Her current research interests include: restoration of coastal ecosystems, ecology of sandy beach ecosystems and assessing changes in underwater seagrass landscapes.
The stranding and deaths of dozens of short-finned pilot whales off Kice Island in Collier County has made multiple headlines recently. Scientists from NOAA fisheries in coordination with Mote Marine Laboratory, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Rookery Bay Reserve, Marine Animal Rescue Society, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Collier County Sheriff Office have coordinated to respond to these stranding.
In an attempt to learn how the whales died, scientists conducted what is known as a necropsy, which is an autopsy for animals, on several of the whales. Besides investigating potential causes of death, necropsies provide important insight into the whales’ life history such as their age, size, weight, sex, and whether they are sexually mature. Often this kind of information is difficult to determine when the animal is alive. Scientists can compare this information to other stranding records they have for short-finned pilot whales to learn more about the species and what might be contributing to these events.
Here is your chance to enjoy a family fun-filled day along the Sarasota Bay shoreline in the historic fishing village of Cortez. Come see a piece of what old-time Florida looks like and learn more about the Florida’s commercial fishing heritage.
Music, nautical arts, a marine life touch tank, delicious seafood and much, much more.
All festival proceeds go to expanding and restoring the FISH Preserve — 95 acres of environmentally sensitive lands along the Sarasota Bay shoreline.
Admission: $3.00, kids under 12 free. Free remote parking with shuttle service ($2.50, round trip).
The Florida Middle Ground is a set of ridges that lie in 85-165 feet of water, approximately 120 miles northwest of Tampa Bay. The Florida Middle Ground is a fisherman’s paradise. The complex structure of ridges and valleys far from shore attract marine life including fish and invertebrates. Until recently, scientists believed that the ridges are a relict coral reef
However, a 2010 US Geological Survey (USGS) expedition uncovered a different story. Join us for Salty Topics on Thursday, December 5th at 6:45pm as Chris Reich, USGS, shares the new discover in the Florida Middle Ground! Salty Topics is at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702. Register online at http://floridamiddleground.eventbrite.com/
Underwater drilling at 85 feet revealed that the core of the eastern ridge of the Florida Middle Ground complex consists of muddy sand that is capped by a 12-ft-thick sequence composed primarily of a single species of marine snail (Vermetid gastropods). The worm rock formed between 8,200 and 8,900 years ago.
Climate Change and associated Sea Level Rise are complex topics. To interpret the science, the Salty Topics Marine Research Seminar Series is pleased to present Dr. Don Chambers, University of South Florida College of Marine Science, presenting “Sea Level Rise: What do We Know?”
The program will begin at 6:30pm, Thursday, November 7th with light refreshments & a viewing of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program King Tide Traveling Photo Exhibit. The series is hosted at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702. Register online at https://sealevelrise2013.eventbrite.com/.
Dr. Chambers will discuss the various tools that have been used to observe sea level rise since the early 1700s and present a summary of what we know about sea level rise, especially new insight gleaned from nearly global satellite and in situ measurements over the last two decades. We will discuss the relationship of sea level rise to climate change and the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets and discuss what we still need to understand in order to make more accurate predictions for future sea level rise.
Sea level rise, shifting seasons and extreme weather are some of the climate change buzzwords that have become increasingly common. But do we really understand what they mean or how they will impact our lifestyles? Two forums are being held that will engage the public in a conversation about these important issues. You are invited to join the discussion.
“Climate: Change the Conversation” will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center in St. Petersburg. A second forum will be offered from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the St. Petersburg College, Fine Arts Auditorium in Tarpon Springs.
The program will include an introductory presentation and small group discussion about the potential effects of climate change in the Tampa Bay region. Each interactive station will highlight one local aspect of climate change and its associated impacts.
The Salty Topics Marine Research Seminar Series is excited to Kick off its 3rd year! The UF IFAS Pinellas County Sea Grant Extension series has presented topics such as Red Tide, Fisheries Management, Hurricane Damage Assessment and Prediction, Oil Spill Updates, Real-Time Ocean Monitoring, and More!
The Series will kick off at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33702 on Thursday, October 3rd at 6:45pm. Holly Greening, Director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, will present “Restoring Tampa Bay: 25 Years of Progress”. Register online at https://restoretampabay.eventbrite.com/.
Effective September 3rd, 2013 fishermen targeting reef fish such as grouper and snapper in the Gulf of Mexico will no longer be required to use venting tools to treat fish suffering from barotrauma. Barotrauma is the rapid expansion of gases inside a fish’s swim bladder due to changes in pressure when brought to the surface. Venting is the process of releasing these trapped gases by inserting a sharpened, hollow needle into the side of the fish, which has shown to be a useful method for returning fish back to depth. However, while venting can be attributed to increased survival rates for some species, research for many other is either lacking or inconclusive, particularly in deeper waters. In addition, new gear known as fish descending devices can be used to return fish back to depth without the need of venting in many cases. Research from the U.S. Pacific coast has shown that fish descending devices have been highly effective at increasing the survival rates of several species of released rockfish. It is hoped that these devices will have similar results for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. Because of the reasons, the Gulf Council voted to remove the venting requirement. It is important to note, however, that both venting and descending devices are options of last resort and should only be used if fish can’t get back down on their own. Knowing when and how to properly use these devices is key to improving the survival rates of fish that are released. To learn more Florida Sea Grant will be hosting an online webinar Wednesday, Sept 11 from 6:30-7:30 pm that will discuss barotrauma and tools and tips for releasing fish in deep waters. The webinar is free, but you must register by visiting: www.fsgbarotrauma.eventbrite.com.
For any questions, contact Bryan Fluech at email@example.com
A visit to Florida’s Nature Coast is like a step back in time to a Florida before high rise buildings, cell phones, and jam packed schedules. Recreational Scallop Season is a great reason for Tampa Bay residents to grab friends and family and head north. At one time scallops ranged abundantly across the state, from Palm Beach on the east coast to Pensacola on the west coast. Today, however, healthy populations can only be found in selected locations along the Gulf coast. The most popular destinations for recreational scallopers are Steinhatchee, Crystal River and Homosassa. The Florida bay scallop, a bivalve mollusk, grows and lives in the shallow (4 to 10 feet deep) seagrass beds that are common to these areas.
Recreational scallop season is open from June 29th-September 24th, 2013. Recreational scallopers between the ages of 16 and 65 must have a current Florida saltwater fishing license to collect scallops. Harvesting is allowed from the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal (in Bay County) to the Pasco-Hernando county line (near Aripeka). The bag limit is 2 gallons of whole scallops (in the shell), or 1 pint of scallop meat per person per day. In addition, no more than 10 gallons of whole scallops or 1/2 gallon of scallop meat may be possessed aboard any vessel at any time. You may harvest scallops only by hand or with a landing or dip net. Scallopers must remain in the legal scalloping area while in possession of scallops on the water, including the point where they return to land.
Be sure to follow safe snorkeling and boating procedures. When snorkeling from a boat, regulations require a dive flag displayed on your boat. When snorkeling from shore, you must keep a floating dive flag with you . Boaters should recognize your dive flag and its meaning, however always err on the side of caution and pay close attention to boat traffic in your vicinity. A full list of boating regulations can be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website. Always monitor local weather and tides and be prepared for unexpected summer storms.