Gulfport: Testing the Fish in Clam Bayou

Q: Can the city test the fish in Clam Bayou to see what levels of toxins they contain? Who tested the shellfish for toxins - can the city use the same company? How much will it cost?


A: Gulfport can’t use the same company because no one has tested the shellfish, only the sediment.

“Theoretically,” City Manager Jim O’Reilly says, Gulfport “could commission a test of the fish in the Gulfport segment of the waters of Clam  Bayou,” but, he adds “my concern is that it would require a very large detailed set of parameters of the intent, scope and nature of the testing, as many variables exist , related to the migratory nature of the many members and sizes of the fish stock within Tampa Bay Bay/Boca Ciega Bay.

In other words, the test would have to take into account that fish who feed in Clam Bayou also spawn feed elsewhere as they move through Tampa and Boca Ciega bays.

The Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission in conjunction with Pinellas and Manatee Counties for the Tampa Bay Estuary Program conducted the sediment test mentioned, “The Bethnic Macro Faunal Community and Sediment Quality conditions in Clam Bayou, Pinellas County, Florida,” and it only tested sediment, not fish or shellfish. O’Reilly says he doesn’t know if they would be able or available to perform fish or shellfish tests for Gulfport.

“I have no idea what a comprehensive test like this would cost, I would not want to estimate or guess,” he says.

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