This week we got to see firsthand what's going on with our Indian River Lagoon Clam Project, and, boy oh boy, are we excited! Capt. Blair Wiggins and the Addictive Fishing film crew recently spent the day with research scientists at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bio-Science, University of Florida campus in St. Augustine, getting caught up on "Where are we now?"
Jose Nunez, Whitney Research Scientist, took Capt. Blair around to show him the main areas where the clams are being spawned, raised and then released. Jose is known as the "Clam Whisperer" on campus due to his ability to create the perfect conditions for clams to spawn. But first, let's back up just a bit . . . initially, Jose and a few other research scientists had to collect a brood stock, the super clam - clams found still surviving in the current conditions of the Indian River Lagoon. These clams are the clams we want to study and learn more about and the ones we want to reproduce.
Clams are synchronized spawners and there simply aren't enough of them in the IRL to do just that. Jose has brought enough of them back to the Lab, and they have happily reproduced. Now, they are looked after and cared for in the "nursery" called Raceways. Once they get big enough to be released back into the wild (a controlled "wild" the Matanzas River right outside of Whitney Labs), they do so in a protective predator proof bag where they will grow strong and get big enough to be reintroduced into the Indian River and Banana River on Florida's Space Coast.
This is precisely where we are right now. Batches of the baby clams are being placed in a protected area in the Matanzas River getting ready for their next mission. Capt. Blair was lucky enough to be there on a day where Jose was doing just that . . . escorting the next batch of filter-feeding warriors to their post! It's amazing stuff and we are honored to be part of such an incredible project. We are also so very thankful for the team of experts and scientists who are just as passionate as we are about bringing the Indian River Lagoon back to it's glory!
Click here to donate.