SARASOTA, FL (WWSB)- Saturday will be a big day for clams in Sarasota Bay. Sarasota Bay Watch and Mote Marine Lab will release nearly 30-thousand of them into the bay.
"I love being outside, I love being on the water and you get a certain point in time and say I've had a lot of really wonderful experiences and I 'd just like to put a little bit back so other people can have the same experiences I have," Said Rusty Chinnis, who is the Chairman Emeritus of Sarasota Bay Watch.
Chinnis said once the Sarasota Bay became a popular place to be in the mid 1900's, the water quality started changing for the worse.
"Developers started dredging canals , there was a lot of dredge and fill going on , a lot of silt, which affected the water column, clouded it up, killed the seas grasses, all these little communities had crude waste disposal systems that deposited their waste in the bay, the water quality just went downhill from all of this," Chinnis said.
And the quality got so bad, the bay almost lost all of it's clams and scallops.
However, with the water quality improving over the past couple years from new wastewater systems, there is hope. Sarasota Bay Watch and Mote partnered up with a clam farm in Pine Island to attempt to re-nourish the bay. By the end of the summer, the project will have dumped more than 200-thousand clams back into the bay.
One local charter captain said over the years he has noticed the water quality improve and he hopes the clam restoration will be a success.
"The way the water's been looking, they should take holds and hopefully start thriving," Said Captain Brian Marcey of Breakwater Charters.
Sarasota Bay Watch said this is the 4th of of 7 clam releases this summer. They also said because clams are able to live up to 30 years and eat red tide, they hope this project will be successful for many years to come.
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