Deadly Effects Of Red Tide on Scallops through the Gulf Coast



Ride Tide Effects on Scallops

Port St. Joe is known for its scallops. Due to the Red Tide the scallop population has been depleted greatly. It is said to be the worst break out of red tide that has been seen in over a decade.

 

What is Red Tide

Red Tide is the blooming of the microorganism algae, called Karenia Brevis, in the waters of Bay and Gulf counties.


During red tide blooms, the toxins produced by K. brevis are also filtered by the scallops and accumulate in their gut. Scallop harvest zones are managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who will close certain scallop harvest areas in response to red tide blooms.

 

What Does Red Tide do?

The red tide organisms produces a toxin that affects the central nervous system of fish, birds, mammals and other animals. The red tide is extremely toxic and deadly to animals. When red tide develops it typically can wipe out thousands of helpless animals, sea life, and eco-systems.

 

Where to go scalloping - Steinhatchee

Importance of Scallops with in an Ecosystem

Bay scallops are sensitive to changes in water quality and can be an indicator of an ecosystem's health. Scallops are filter feeders, and eat plankton. They lie on the bottom or on seagrass blades and filter water across their large gills, which remove food particles such as algae and oxygen for respiration from the water. Scallops need clean high salinity water to thrive; the water must be low in sediment content as the scallop is not efficient at removing sediment.