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ARTIFICIAL REEF DEPLOYED OFF ANNA MARIA IN MEMORIAM OF LOCAL CONSERVATIONIST

Almost 200 tons of high-quality concrete was deployed by CCA Florida in partnership with the Building Conservation Trust and Yamaha Rightwaters™ to create the Sean Gucken Memorial Reef 

Orlando, Fla. – June 29, 2020 – Today, Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, joined the Building Conservation Trust (BCT) – the national habitat program of CCA – and Yamaha Rightwaters™ to successfully deploy nearly 200 tons of high-quality concrete, about 5 nautical miles off Anna Maria Island, to create the Sean Gucken Memorial Reef. 

Since 2017, CCA Florida has spearheaded the Sean Gucken Memorial Reef project, in an effort to honor its late member who unexpectedly passed away that same year. Gucken, from St. Petersburg, a revered angler, free diver and spearfisherman, was also a devout advocate for protecting Florida’s waters and marine resources. The deployment is a tribute to his passion and the Gucken Reef will continue his legacy by helping create new fisheries and habitats.

“A steward of the fish who put others first, Sean’s zest for the outdoors, specifically Florida’s waters, was contagious – devoted to protecting and sharing his passion with everyone,” CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski said. “Sean introduced me to CCA Florida nearly 20 years ago, and I am forever grateful for our friendship, fishing adventures and mutual dedication to fulfilling our organization’s mission. The Gucken Reef is a symbol that his work can continue for today and generations to come.”

The concrete was deployed on the Manatee County “Bridge Reef,” a pre-permitted artificial reef site roughly .25-mile long by .25-mile wide. The concrete reefing materials were donated by Port Manatee and Westra Construction. The Bridge Reef is located west of Anna Maria Island, 27º°30 55.44 / 82º 49 1.56 central point.  

“The creation and maintenance of sustainable fisheries are at the heart of every Yamaha Rightwaters initiative,” said Martin Peters, Division Manager, Government Relations, Yamaha Marine U.S. Business Unit. “We’re honored to be a part of a reef project that pays tribute Sean Gucken, an angler who helped set the standard for marine conservation in Florida.”

Artificial reefs initiate the development of natural, thriving habitats for various species of fish, oysters and other sea life, such as crab and shrimp, with the overall goal to create an ever-evolving ecosystem while enhancing fisheries, improving water quality and providing new opportunities for local anglers. 

A separate, memorial module for Gucken will be deployed on the Bridge Reef in a private ceremony later this year. CCA Florida, BCT and Yamaha secured all the funding for the project. CCA Florida is committed to enriching Florida’s marine resources for today and generations to come.

Contact: Mary Hillyer Peelen| 407.617.0604 | mhpeelen@ccaflorida.org 

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About CCA Florida

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. One of 19 state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985. A 501(c)3 non-profit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources. Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 18,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments. Join the conversation on Facebook or learn more at ccaflorida.org.

About The Building Conservation Trust 

The Building Conservation Trust (BCT) was founded in 2010 as the national marine habitat program of Coastal Conservation Association. BCT is a 501c3 non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to providing funding for local, state and national fisheries, habitat conservation and restoration projects. BCT has created a model for the successful collaboration of business, non-profit organizations and government agencies to revitalize critical habitat and establish a vibrant foundation for the marine ecosystem.

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