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Discussion Starter #1
While I would be great for some of the eastern closure areas to be reopened before the end of Red Snapper season next week, there is clearly no motivation right now for NOAA to do this since if they had it there way Red snapper would have been closed the entire year.

Anyway if this cap becomes somewhat of a success and with the top kill not far behind, I think the focus will start to change to cleanup and contain and pressure from the commercial industry and charter guys will start to come down on NOAA to generate some actual scientific evidence of the effects the oil has on the fish.

I am betting if the trajectory remains the same there will be no change in the closures with the exception of potentially adding areas that might be 'affected' on the western boundary, until after July 23rd.
 

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I fear it will take many years for Santa Rosa Sound to recover. Last weekend, in the Santa Rosa Sound waters on which I have lived for over 30 years, the crabs were gone and the pin fish and other killies were schooling in far less numbers then I have ever seen. The water is a reddish-brown. There were some schools of baby mullet but I did not see any adults. The scallops were completly gone. The Rays were gone. The Sheepshead that normally swim about my pilings were gone. It was a sad dive. Maybe some BP money can be used to cut the Narvarre Pass back to where it was a few decades ago and use it to help flush the sound when the Gulf Waters clear.
 

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I haven't seen scallops around here in a long time. I do see oysters on some of the pilings. I asked Big Lagoon superintendent last year if he had seen any in the grassbeds and he said not in several years. I wish that they would make a come back.
 

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SHunter I agree with your observation. I was describing a recent dive in Santa Rosa Sound just east of Gulf Breeze. I have not seen any scallops in the numbers they use to be, especially west of the P'cola Pass Cut in Big Lagoon where I do not recall seeing any at all for a few years. In the Sound ,just east of Gulf Breeze, there were a few scallops prior to the spill in the Wiggeon Grass beds from about 4' to the grassline at about 12'. It was a narrow zone but long. They kind of swim of course using their shells and the babies are free swimmers, so maybe they relocated to deeper waters. I hope so rather then just died off. Perhaps the crabs did the same. I will not dive in the Sound waters again until they clear.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow- that is sad to hear- we have had none of those affects over here- just tar balls about 5 miles out of pass a few weeks ago before winds shifted and the occasional tar balls washing up on beach.

As far as scallops go, we used to have a plentiful scallops in our bay and scalloping was legal. Though they still exist, they are much more scarce since the Old St. Andrew's East Pass (which was the original pass to St. Andrew Bay) closed up completely after the 04-05 storms. The old pass kep the shallow grass beds between Tyndall AFB and Shell Island flushed with clean water and scallops we abundant in this area. Maybe one day there will be enough funds to permanently keep it open.

Have you guys actually seen fish/shellfish kills or just a lack of fish? maybe (hopefully) fish are smarter than we think and are just temporarily swimming away from contaminated water. I did hear some reports (albeit unsubstantiated) that yft were spotted at a rediculously close distance to the beach recently...
 

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SHunter I agree with your observation. I was describing a recent dive in Santa Rosa Sound just east of Gulf Breeze. I have not seen any scallops in the numbers they use to be, especially west of the P'cola Pass Cut in Big Lagoon where I do not recall seeing any at all for a few years. In the Sound ,just east of Gulf Breeze, there were a few scallops prior to the spill in the Wiggeon Grass beds from about 4' to the grassline at about 12'. It was a narrow zone but long. They kind of swim of course using their shells and the babies are free swimmers, so maybe they relocated to deeper waters. I hope so rather then just died off. Perhaps the crabs did the same. I will not dive in the Sound waters again until they clear.
The reddish-brown water is most likely caused by the runoff from the wetlands because of the recent rains. I've seen the Sound water turn reddish near the runoff points after prolonged heavy rains. After reading your post, I walked out on my pier and noticed fresh holes made by stingrays as they sifted thru the sand in search of ghost shrimp. I even saw one stingray (just under 3') next to the pier. The water has been very warm which probably accounts for the perceived lack of singrays, mullets and crabs. I know the crabs are in deeper water because every summer, I have to move my traps deeper. No matter how warm the water gets, I always see the finger mullets in water only inches deep. They seem to tolerate warmer temperatures better than the large mullets. Also, I imagine the shallow water is safer for them since there are few predators.

I did see white foam washing ashore but I've seen this before. There is also some fresh grass on the water edge. However, this is nothing new.

I can't address the lack of scallops since I never actively looked for them. Other than to clean and check the attachment points of my mooring buoy, I have never dived in the sound, .

As a point of reference, I live about 5 miles west of the Navarre bridge, close to Holley-by-the-Sea.
 

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dead fish

that is what i feared the most a generational genicide of several species of fish that spawn high in the water cloumn there goes all our pelagics for serveral years
 

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Grassbeds are the nurseries for a lot of species. Worst place for the oil to get. I was excited to read that some scallops were there before.
 

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Sounds like the glass is half empty.

After over 50 years on the sound, fishing, sailing, skiing, diving, etc., I've seen that body of water change drastically, in many ways. The most profound change came with the development on the north side adjacent to what was then Santa Rosa Shores Golf Course, now Tiger Point. Run-off with fertilizers, pesticides, stormwater and the like virtually cleaned the Sound of everything during the hottest part of the summer, July through August. I was on the water just this weekend, and was pleased NOT to see anything unusual . If you want to see a problem, you will. I've also been in the Gulf, and I'm concerned, but encouraged that we may now be looking at cleanup mode, instead of worrying about continuation of flowing oil. One more memory: Tarballs on the Gulf-side beach in the early 60's, daily, from passing ships pumping the bilge, and natural seepage. (My mother would keep mineral spirits in the old station wagon to clean our feet.)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Tarballs on the Texas beaches are nearly an everyday occurance, albeit not in the scope we have seen related to this spill. I am pretty sure anyone who has spent time on the Gulf Coast has probably seen an occasionaly tarball in the past before the Deepwater Horizon accident, but they were typically very weathered and most people likely moved on without giving much thought to what is was or where it came from.
 

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The Santa Rosa Sound is fine, I have been seeing HUGE schools of rays, we have been catching 20-26" trout on the flats within site of the pass on regular occurrence. Scallops move season to season. In the big bend when we scalloped every year, they would be in a different place from one year to the next.

To answer the real post, I believe (really hope) we will start seeing federal waters open around Oct. It will take a while to get our area due south open, but I really dont think it will be years. The one thing that has been to "our" advantage is the publics opinion plays a huge role in the response.
Again, when the south part of the gulf of mexico had a big spill back years ago, most fisherman where back to fishing within 2 years, and the fishing fully recovered within 4-5years. Lets hope for the best.
 
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