• Capt Blair Wiggins

IRL Clam Restoration Project, Bits & Bites

A few months back, me and the AF crew were fishing in the Mosquito and Indian River Lagoon filming an episode with Capt. Leiza Fitzgerald of CCA Florida. We caught 2 very small fish in the 2 days we were there filming. I've witnessed so many drastic and devastating changes to this estuary, for example; brown algae, no grass, no horseshoe crabs, few manatees, and overall dirty water. I left that shoot heartbroken and knew something needed to be done immediately. Parts of that day of filming are in this week's episode on Fox Sports Sun airing Friday at 10:30 a.m. The new episode is called "Bits & Bites" so don't miss it . . . check for replay times on the AF website.

My partners, Kevin and Patrice McCabe began looking to assemble a team of experts, to help turn the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) system around. Things moved quickly, and a team has been put together which includes the CCA of Florida, FWC and University of Florida and a proposal for clam restoration was written. The goal of the project is to establish significant clam beds in the lagoon again and to support long-term growth of the clams.

Some of y'all might remember me telling you about a meeting we held in Orlando at the CCA offices in August. It was our job when we left that meeting to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. We did and the project is full steam ahead!! AF partners Star Brite and Dick's Sporting Goods were the first to respond with initial checks cut by both companies, sent to Whitney Labs at the University of Florida, and we were able to get the donation link on the website established.

Next step: To 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 to study and create a brood stock.

We need your help!! We need you to get the word out, share this project and DONATE. We need to bring the clams back to save this estuary. Please DONATE.

Until next week . . . tight lines,

Capt. Blair

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