Nonprofit-corporate partnership expands to stock the redfish population on Florida’s southwest coast following Florida red tide.
Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), Duke Energy and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have historically partnered on initiatives to enhance Florida’s fisheries, and the organizations are again joining forces to address the loss to the redfish population on the southwest coast as a result of red tide. The nonprofit CCA Florida, Duke Energy and FWC will be releasing over 10,000 Duke Energy hatchery-reared redfish following the Florida red tide bloom and when waters are determined to be safe, thanks to a donation from the Duke Energy Mariculture Center.
“We’re all aware of the devastation the red tide has caused our fisheries and we’re thrilled to partner with Duke Energy for this amazing redfish stock enhancement initiative,” said Brian Gorski, CCA Florida Executive Director. “We’ve asked our members and anglers throughout the state to catch and release, but there’s more that needs to be done, and this partnership – as with our ongoing relationship with Duke – will help to repopulate a fishery that’s iconic to our state.”
The initiative will take place when the waters are determined to be clear of red tide and will include the release of 200 tagged adult (25”-30”) redfish and 10,000 juvenile (4”-6”) redfish into the waters of Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier Counties.
“Duke Energy is committed to environmental stewardship,” said Eric Latimer, Duke Energy Florida Mariculture Center Manager. “Fish mortalities associated with the current red tide bloom in southwest Florida have broad impacts, both to our state’s interconnected biological systems and to the people that make a living from and enjoy our natural resources. We are proud to play a small part in the solution by restocking fish that will contribute to the overall restoration of the affected areas.”
“We appreciate the valuable support from CCA Florida and Duke Energy in helping enhance our world class redfish fishery,” said Eric Sutton, FWC Executive Director. “This team effort will benefit conservation, outdoor recreation and the state’s economy in many ways.”
In addition to the stocking enhancement initiative, CCA Florida and FWC are encouraging anglers to help all inshore populations by releasing their catch. This summer, CCA Florida launched the “Release Them For Tomorrow” campaign as a way to support several species’ growth through catch and release. “It’s going to take everyone doing their part to get our fisheries back to health,” stated Gorski. Anglers are encouraged to share the message by tagging their social media photos, comments and messages with the hashtag #ReleaseThemForTomorrow to show their support. Anglers can become engaged by joining CCA Florida at JoinCCA.org. For more information, visit the Facebook page or ccaflorida.org.