May and June have been busy months for Sarasota Bay Watch and our community partners. We are proud to announce that as of June 16th we have released over 125,000 clams into Sarasota Bay! These clams have been maturing under the care of Bay Shellfish Company near Pine Island for the past year and were transported up to Sarasota Bay by our volunteers. The areas of release were researched for the best possible chance of survival and we are happy to report that our divers in the water watched as they began to burrow!
The southern hardshell clam was once abundant in Sarasota Bay but their numbers are currently depleted. These bivalves serve many important functions in Sarasota Bay including filtering the water. A single clam can filter 4.5 gallons of water per day and they are even able to persist despite red tide. These clams can also remove atmospheric carbon dioxide that has been dissolved in the water and convert it to the calcium carbonate that makes of their shell.
Locations for these releases were determined based on depth, salinity, and sea floor type. Scientists with Mote Marine Laboratories set up research plots and each dive location to study these clams.
By the end of summer we will release over 250,000 clams into the bay in hopes of replenishing this once abundant bivalve population. This would not be possible with our community partners and our science partners at Mote Marine.
Thank you so much for our local media for supporting our efforts with great press!