Operation Drag and Snag

Despite the importance of the blue crab fishery to Florida’s coastal communities, derelict blue crab traps are a growing problem. In recent years, however, awareness of the impact derelict traps have on marine life, the environment and public safety has increased. In May 2011, Charlotte County Sea Grant Extension Agent Betty Staugler began a project…

2011 Changes to Florida’s Planning Laws: Impacts on Coastal Planning

Governor Scott recently signed a bill passed by the Florida Legislature that makes significant changes to comprehensive planning in the state. This brief note is not intended to give a complete summary of the bill, which is almost 200 pages, but to mention some of the most significant changes included in the law before looking more carefully at the implications for planning in coastal communities.

Waterway access study helps Taylor County economy

Taylor County–well-known to Floridians as home of Steinhatchee, a popular fishing and bay scalloping destination–recently received a boost thanks to a user survey led by Charles Sidman, Florida Sea Grant associate director of research, and Garin Davidson, University of Florida boating and waterway planning program. The 2010 study, Planning for Waterway Access in Taylor County,…

Withstanding Hurricanes

Hurricane season began June 1, and NOAA’s annual hurricane forecast for the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico calls for 12 to 18 named storms, with six to 10 becoming hurricanes. The agency predicts up to six major hurricanes, with wind speeds above 111 mph. Hurricanes are some of the most devastating weather events to…

Scallop Research and Restoration

Scallops live about one year before either dying off naturally or being eaten by humans, crabs, octopuses, or a variety of shell-crushing fish. They spawn primarily in the fall. After about a two-week period as plankton, larvae develop a small shell and settle onto seagrass blades. They continue to grow while attached to the grass…

Scallop Searches

Volunteer scallop searches are part of Florida’s efforts to restore bay scallop populations. These are no-take outings conducted in areas presently closed to scalloping. Volunteers snorkel and search for scallops, recording the numbers to help monitor and document the health and status of returning scallop populations. While the numbers may vary from year-to-year, it’s most important…

Protecting Florida's Spiny Lobster

As commercial and recreational landings of Florida’s spiny lobsters continue to remain below historical levels, new findings about the lobster’s ecology are helping guide management strategies to benefit future populations and the fishing industry. Spiny lobsters are one of the largest commercial fisheries in Florida, and one of the most economically valuable in the Caribbean.…