Thursday, November 15, 2018

CLAM ON!

It's official, the IRL Clam project is full steam ahead!! Thanks to Dick's Sporting Goods, Star Brite and CCA Music City, we've kicked off the project with $17,000 towards our $122,205 goal to put 2,000,000 clams back into the Indian River Lagoon system. As we begin scheduling fundraising presentations for the project, the Clam Team is planning our first IRL field campaign - a visit to the estuary to assess current clam populations and identify historic clam communities focusing on the Indian River and Banana River between Titusville and Sebastian.

Dr. Todd Osborne, Ph.D. from The Whitney Labs at the University of Florida in St. Augustine, says his laboratory is ready to start collecting a brood stock of the targeted species and potentially others if determined beneficial to the clam restoration objectives. The team will travel to the IRL and gather approximately 100 individuals from each species (including hard and sun ray venus clams). Clams will be collected and transported back to the laboratory for spawning and experimentation. Since they have survived through the turbid conditions over the years, these "super clams" will make great brood stock for spawning, experimentation and ultimately a higher chance of survival when placed back into the estuary.

An interesting tidbit we learned on our recent conference call is Capt. Blair Wiggins owns a clam lease on the Indian River, so the IRL Clam Project was given the green light to use his lease for the project. Capt Blair and his television crew will have an up-close look into this project. They will be documenting the entire process along the way, giving us unprecedented access to a real project with real world results. 

Help us fund this project. Our estuaries are dying from poor water quality. Visit The Whitney Labs webpage and donate what you can. Every 6 cents gets us 1 clam closer to our goal. 

If you have any information on clam bed locations that could help our team, please email us and someone from the team will contact you back.

Monday, November 5, 2018

CLAM PROJECT UNVEILED

FWC, ASA, CCA Florida and Whitney Lab in the house.
The quest to return the Indian River Lagoon to days gone by has begun. Capt Blair Wiggins and the Addictive Fishing team reached out to Frank Gidus, project coordinator for CCA Florida and were encouraged when they found out about a clam restoration project that had been written and was in need of funding. 

Kevin McCabe, Executive Producer of Addictive Fishing Television said, "Capt Blair Wiggins has always believed the estuaries around our home waters have not been the same since we were kids, back in the 80's, growing up on the Space Coast. Due to environmental influences, most of the clams have gone missing. Clams are filter feeders and they would help drastically with water quality issues."

Exec Producer, Kevin McCabe, is pleased with what he sees.
In August, a meeting was set in Orlando and select key industry minds were invited from the CCA, FWC, ASA and the University of Florida. Dr. Todd Osborne from the Whitney Lab and Jeff Beal from FWC led the meeting and told the group about a project that had already been permitted but didn't get funding. The project would gather super clams from the local areas that have made it through the brown algae bloom, bring them back to the Whitney Lab in St. Augustine, spawn 2,000,000 clams, reintroduce them back into clam beds at 5 locations and study their successes.  

Capt. Leiza Fitzgerald of CCA, Kevin & Patrice McCabe of AF
The AF team left the meeting with one goal in mind and that was to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. First thing's first, the fundraising account needed to be established, and AF partners Star Brite and Dick's Sporting Goods were the first to respond. Initial checks were cut by both companies, sent to Whitney Labs at the University of Florida, and they got started working on the website link needed to get this project funded.

We hope we can count on you to donate to the IRL Clam Restoration Project and put our World Class estuary back to the beauty it once was. 

Thank you.  

Monday, August 20, 2018

THE INDIAN RIVER LAGOON

The creators of Addictive Fishing Television, Capt. Blair Wiggins and Executive Producer Kevin McCabe, grew up in Cocoa Beach, Florida. The pair used to go camping on the islands of the Banana River with Blair's family. Overnight camping trips meant catching their own fish and wading for clams to eat at night. They grew up learning how to respect Mother Nature, how to take care of their surroundings and some of the best life lessons were learned on Florida's Space Coast. A few months back, Capt. Blair and the AF crew were fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon filming an episode with Capt. Leiza Fitzgerald of CCA Florida. They caught 2 very small fish in the 2 days they were there. They witnessed so many drastic and devastating changes, for example; brown algae, no grass, no horseshoe crabs, few manatees, and overall dirty water. Capt. Blair and Kevin left the shoot and from that day something needed to be done, and so the quest began. The quest to return the Northern IRL to the way it once was - healthy. 

Blair Wiggins, Kevin McCabe - 1978
Immediately Kevin and Patrice McCabe began looking to assemble a team of experts, sponsors and volunteers to help turn the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) system around. Florida east coast estuaries, especially the IRL, are currently suffering from major water quality issues due to watershed over-drainage and subsequent eutrophication.  Understanding the relationships between shellfish populations and water quality is critical to defining restoration success.  Clams are an integral component of healthy productive seagrass beds in the IRL, playing a role in nutrient cycling for the seabed, seabed life, and the water column.

Discussions with the CCA of Florida began immediately following the annual industry ICAST convention in July. Researching of other successful clam restoration projects became a clear focal point. Through our research, we discovered that there were proposals out there already that simply needed funding and the support behind it to launch. 

Things have moved along quickly, and a team has been put together which includes the FWC and University of Florida. In short, they actually have 2 proposals out there for clam restoration; one scaled-down version and the full large scale project.  Their goal is to establish significant clam beds in the lagoon again and to support long-term growth of the clams.  This would include collecting and re-seeding native clams in a hatchery. 

WE NEED YOUR HELP. We need to raise a minimum of $120,000.00 to get the ball rolling. Are you in? We’re tired of talking and we’re ready (and have our team assembled) to get working on the solution.