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View Full Version : Collecting in Florida!


pmex
03/11/2015, 04:34 PM
Hey all, I'm visiting Florida and was thinking of collecting some marine organisms.

I'm aware of Florida laws; on fishing licenses, bagging limits, off-limit preserve/park areas, restricted species, etc..

Let me begin by saying I'm not interested in collecting corals and most reef fish. I'm really into macroalgae, shrimp, crab, and mantis shrimp. My primary interest is sargassum shrimp and crab; I'm hoping to do a sargassum only tank.

I would appreciate if anyone local to Florida can answer some questions honestly:

(1) Where I would go to harvest sargassum, either by boat or on foot?

(2) For other macroalgae and shrimp/hermits, what would be a good place to find some? Particularly ulva and gracilaria and small hermits. Would it be on foot or by snorkling off a boat?

(3) While I am going to collect 100% legally, I am aware that there may be some chance of encountering harassment from hardcore activists. I will have my fish license with me at all times. Will it be enough to show them this and be left alone? Is this prevalent across Florida? How should I respond?

jimbob321
03/11/2015, 06:00 PM
there is a lot of coast in Florida it will depend on were you go in the state.
theirs a lot of diversity i suggest you get your feet wet and look around.watch out for sting rays
i live on the central east coast and 3 hrs away i am on the west coast or the keys all are totally different.
on the east coast the indian river lagoon is 156 miles long it changes as you move along it also.
i just went out today to collect some Amphipods and seen most of what you want without getting wet.
around here the sargassum blows up on the beach after storms in the Caribbean.you can pull clumps of it out and find lots of things.

pmex
03/11/2015, 07:04 PM
I'll probably be stopping by Miami, and possibly Orlando later.

The Indian River Lagoon seems neat. Is there a particular region that I should visit? I was looking at the map and it looks like US 1 runs all the way through, but most of the terrain is either private property or just road. Is there a particular access point I should start at?

billsreef
03/11/2015, 09:03 PM
If your in the Miami area, there has been a pretty good east wind blowing, which pushes the sargassum inshore and easy to collect from any of the ocean side beaches and even inside Biscayne Bay by any of the inlets. Just watch for Man-of-War which also get blown inshore by the same east wind this time of year. Gracilaria is best find inside the bay, but somewhat sporadic in abundance down this way. Ulva is also not common in this area, better found a bit more north up towards jimbob.

jimbob321
03/13/2015, 08:49 AM
"The Indian River Lagoon seems neat. Is there a particular region that I should visit? I was looking at the map and it looks like US 1 runs all the way through, but most of the terrain is either private property or just road. Is there a particular access point I should start at?"

most of the causeway's from the mainland to the beaches or inlets and parks will give you some access.

reefcleaners
03/14/2015, 03:00 AM
You have to be on the ocean side to find sargassum drifts, they are not in the lagoon except by accident coming in the inlet and those species will have left it. Ideally you would have a boat, by the time sargassum makes it to shore the more interesting species have left it, it gets tosses a lot in the waves at the end. Or swim out a way and check out there. Sargassum crabs will cling all the way to shore, but not shrimp.

jedimasterben
03/15/2015, 09:59 PM
If you do poke around the Lagoon, be wary that Ostreopsis sp. dinoflagellates lurk there and can cause you no end of problems if you're u lucky enough to bring them home.

likefish
03/17/2015, 02:41 PM
Throw on some old shoes, grab a snorkel and get in wherever you have access to water!!!

Comb the shore lines, look close! look at pier pylons and boat ramp docks. if you have accesses to shallow flats on either coast you have access to the most amazing fish tank in the world!

I dive the central gulf of mexico and find the most macro-algae diversity in the 10-40' depth range. This depth is quite a ways off shore 10+ miles in many areas.

Florida coastlines are amazing and beautiful. Enjoy!! Google maps is your friend..... use it to find shore access and have fun

likefish
03/17/2015, 02:44 PM
If you do poke around the Lagoon, be wary that Ostreopsis sp. dinoflagellates lurk there and can cause you no end of problems if you're u lucky enough to bring them home.

As do gators, sharks, drunk boaters, and a list of things I can pronounce. Throw the guy a bone and encourage him to enjoy what we sometimes take for granted as locals! DOnt be sceered!! get in the water!

A google search of Ostreopsis sp. dinoflagellates provided no explanation of the specific concerns associated with this specific critter. Care to elaborate?

jedimasterben
03/18/2015, 06:52 AM
As do gators, sharks, drunk boaters, and a list of things I can pronounce. Throw the guy a bone and encourage him to enjoy what we sometimes take for granted as locals! DOnt be sceered!! get in the water!

A google search of Ostreopsis sp. dinoflagellates provided no explanation of the specific concerns associated with this specific critter. Care to elaborate?
Imagine a very tiny organism that can synthesize several very powerful toxins (including palytoxin) and forms snot-like mats that kill pretty much everything they touch, along with most herbivorous fish that manage to ingest enough of them. There is no way to beat them, only attempt to force them to encyst (basically hibernate) and wait for conditions to become favorable again.

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-cxDC6AMcpu0/UtVg5JgKG1I/AAAAAAAADcc/SIzNvhJUD1A/s640/2013_02_16__20_23_27.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-v72Yp0F52lY/Uvf1RmbSysI/AAAAAAAADd8/8TY3mSwefLk/s720/IMG_5551.jpg

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/--YXoSNNi1EQ/UwFp6k7wxgI/AAAAAAAAKOo/p3CIBfB019c/s720/IMG_5653.jpg

Here is a long, depressing thread on the subject: http://www.reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2307000