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Water-Related News

Sarasota’s Canals subject of Mote Marine Lab fish survey

SARASOTA — In a canal that runs between Circus Boulevard and the Bobby Jones Golf Club, Mote Marine Laboratory researchers pulled up a seine net and peered in to see what they’d found.

“Well, we got a bass,” said Dr. Nate Brennan on Tuesday morning. “We caught a largemouth — two largemouth bass. Who’d have guessed, huh?”

Mote researchers are conducting the first scientific survey of fish in the canals of Sarasota. The question is how these drainage ditches, which were built for flood control, might be enhanced to benefit fisheries and add to the natural beauty of Sarasota County.

“That’s the value of this,” said Dr. James Locascio, manager of the Fisheries Habitat Ecology Program at Mote. “What is the value of these ecosystems and what can we do to enhance that value?”

Recommendations for the canal system could include everything from building small pools to adding marshy plants and shade trees.

The canal survey, funded by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program, began a month ago and will take another month to complete.

There are more than 100 miles of canals that drain into Phillippi Creek and Sarasota Bay. Tidal waters are an important habitat for sport fish such as snook.