Saturday morning, January 15, 2022, was the perfect day and setting for the press conference announcing the official launch of the All Clams on Deck initiative. All Clams on Deck is the brainchild and passion of Ed Chiles, who owns the Mar Vista restaurant on the shores of Longboat Key, where the launch took place. This setting and the restaurant business are directly impacted by the seagrass and clams initiative that All Clams on Deck is helping to shed light on and positively impact this area’s waterways.
All Clams on Deck is an initiative of Gulf Shellfish Insititute that is a leader in research for sustainable aquaculture and healthy ecosystems. Those helping spearhead this initiative know that our area is battling increasing development and pollution in our waterways, including nutrients from inadequate wastewater systems that struggle to keep up. Stormwater runoff carries land-based nutrients across lawns and paved surfaces and intensifies storms and harmful algal blooms. The health of the three estuaries is as important to Florida’s future as any commercial enterprise and is critical to its economy.
This initiative is determined to prove the science of clams and seagrass playing a significant role in cleaning water, removing excess nutrients, and helping promote healthy estuaries. As Ed stated, we all have the rare privilege of living in the only United States that borders three national estuaries of Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor. These estuaries’ future health is critical to Florida’s economy as a nursery habitat for over 75% of commercially harvested seafood species.