Press Releases

Press Releases

Coastal Conservation Association Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Mote Marine Laboratory launch initiative to enhance the snook fishery on Florida’s southwest coast by stocking 10,000 juvenile snook during a two-year project.

Orlando, FL – September 10, 2018 – Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida) is partnering with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Mote Marine Laboratory (Mote) to address the loss to the snook population on the southwest coast as a result of the red tide event.  

The two-year initiative includes raising and releasing 10,000 hatchery-reared juvenile snook along Florida’s southwest coast and will launch in April 2019 following the Florida red tide bloom and when waters are determined to be safe.  Fundraising for the program, a cost of over $440,000, will include outreach to the community through an Adopt-A-Snook program and the formation of additional private-nonprofit partnerships.

“Anyone who lives or fishes the southwest coast understands the devastation our fisheries are seeing from this red tide, and it’s our duty to address the issue,” said Brian Gorski, CCA Florida Executive Director.  “Snook are an iconic fish to our state, and we are extremely excited and honored to partner with FWC and Mote to help recover this fishery and enhance it for future generations.”

Snook are one of the most sought after catches by anglers in southwest Florida, and they return to the same beaches to spawn annually during summer.  Unfortunately, summer was also a peak time for red tide toxins along the beaches of Gasparilla and Little Gasparilla Islands.  

“The continuing impacts of red tide in southwest Florida are evident to all of us who call these communities our home,” said Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President & CEO of Mote Marine Laboratory.  “One of the potentially most devastating and highly visible impacts around Charlotte Harbor was to the spawning snook population. Many of the dead snook were laden with eggs to produce the next generation.  Governor Scott and our partners at FWC quickly called on Mote and provided our fisheries scientist with the resources to conduct a rapid snook population impacts assessment, but much more needs to be done to ensure the recovery of this iconic species.  That is why we are proud to partner with our colleagues at CCA Florida and FWC to launch the Adopt-A-Snook partnership for red tide recovery.”

With support and partnership from CCA Florida and FWC, Mote will locate and restock juvenile snook to specific, tidal-creek “nurseries” that would usually be supplied by spawning aggregations hit hard by the bloom. Each of the hatchery-reared snook will be tagged with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags to allow Mote scientists to monitor and track the progress of the juveniles throughout the study, which includes monthly stocking efforts designed to elevate the system towards its carrying capacity.  Decades of intensive snook aquaculture and sustainable stock enhancement research provides the ability for the State of Florida to rapidly respond through this partnership effort to a significant impact from red tide.  

Mote’s experimental work has shown that the abundance of juvenile snook can nearly double in underutilized nursery habitats through stocking 10-month-old juveniles.  In addition, ongoing Mote studies in Sarasota County suggest that tagged, juvenile snook find some degree of refuge from red tide in tidal creek and riverine environments with fresher water less conducive to the red tide alga, Karenia brevis.  

Governor Scott said, “As our communities continue to be impacted by this year’s red tide, we have provided all available resources for response and recovery.  I’ve directed $9 million in grant funding for local communities as well as funding for Mote Marine Laboratory to assist in animal rescue efforts and funding for VISIT FLORIDA to help businesses recover.  We will continue to do everything we can to support our coastal communities that are being impacted.”

“We appreciate the leadership and support of Governor Scott to increase our efforts to help the communities affected by naturally occurring red tide,” stated FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton.  “FWC and Mote have a decades-long partnership with snook research and recovery, and we are pleased to be a partner with CCA Florida, Mote and the community to enhance this effort.”

In addition to the stocking enhancement initiative, the organizations are encouraging anglers to help the snook and other 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, including snook. “It is 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 #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.
Nonprofit-corporate partnership expands to stock the redfish population on Florida’s southwest coast following Florida red tide.

 

Orlando, FL – September 6, 2018 – 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.

Angling community applauds legislation to deflate algal blooms

HR 6645 would reauthorize programs to assess and control damaging hypoxia events

Recreational anglers are lending their support to a bill that proposes to advance the scientific understanding of harmful algal blooms and improve methods to detect, monitor and assess the damage associated with such events. Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) has introduced HR 6645, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) of 2018, which would establish the Greater Everglades Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Assessment, and facilitate development of an action plan to address, mitigate and control future harmful blooms in this environmentally sensitive area. 

“What is happening off the coast of Florida this year can only be described as a tragedy and has been devastating to our marine ecosystem,” said Brian Gorski, executive director of CCA Florida. “CCA Florida is pleased to support this legislation from Rep. Mast because we need to use every available tool at our disposal to control and prevent these kinds of ecological disasters in the future if at all possible.”

No more than two years after passage, HR 6645 calls for an inter-agency task force to develop and submit to Congress a plan for reducing, mitigating and controlling harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in the Greater Everglades Region and provide biennial progress reports on all activities undertaken to achieve the objectives of the plan. The bill also increases the annual reauthorization of appropriation for the National Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Program to $22 million.

“The only shortcoming to any plan that makes more resources available todayto address this problem is that Congress and the state didn’t do it 20 years ago,” said Gorski. “The water situation in Florida is a catastrophe and it has made it crystal clear how closely tied our economy and quality of life is to our marine environment. We are grateful to Rep. Mast for his efforts to get a handle on Florida’s water quality issues and we urge Congress to pass this legislation as quickly as possible.”

 

The full letter is below. 

 

 

September 4, 2018

The Honorable Brian Mast
U.S. House of Representatives
2182 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515


Dear Representative Mast:

On behalf of the millions of Americans who enjoy recreational fishing and boating and the tens of thousands of businesses they support, we are writing to express our strong support for H.R. 6645, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) of 2018.

Your legislation, as well as H.R. 4417, the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017, is critically important to advancing the scientific understanding and ability to detect, monitor, assess, and predict harmful algal blooms (HABs).As we’ve recently witnessed in South Florida, the Great Lakes and many other parts of the country, HABs have a severe impact on fish populations, fisheries habitats and even human health. Not only are entire ecosystems suffering as a result, but the economic losses continue to mount as local businesses that depend on access to healthy aquatic systems are negatively impacted as well.

Building upon action plans required in the previous reauthorization of HABHRCA, this bill recognizes the ongoing frequency and severity of HABs in South Florida by establishing the Greater Everglades Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Assessment and the subsequent development of an action plan to address, mitigate and control future HABs in this environmentally important area.

In addition to South Florida, these events gravely impact freshwater habitats in rivers and lakes throughout the country, especially in the Great Lakes region. Thus, we are pleased to see your bill reauthorize the National Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Program and the federal interagency working group, which would allow the group to continue building upon its success of developing and implementing action plans to address harmful algal blooms.

Once again, thank you for your efforts on this important issue, and we appreciate your continued leadership in support of clean water and healthy fisheries. We look forward to working with you to ensure H.R. 6645’s passage.

Sincerely,

American Sportfishing Association
Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S)

Boat U.S.
Center for Sportfishing Policy

Coastal Conservation Association
Coastal Conservation Association Florida

Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Florida Guides Association
Future Angler Foundation
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation
International Game Fish Association
Jersey Coast Anglers Association
Kenai River Sportfishing Association
Marine Retailers Association of the Americas
National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) National Marine Manufacturers Association
National Professional Anglers Association
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association Recreational Fishing Alliance
Snook and Gamefish Foundation
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Wildlife Forever











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