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Red Tide Recovery Stock Enhancements Begin in Southwest Florida

Along with Duke Energy and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, we began releasing over 16,000 juvenile and adult redfish in February, all hatchery-reared and donated by the Duke Energy Mariculture Center in Crystal River, into southwest county waters hardest hit by red tide.

On March 15th, at one of eight county releases, First Lady Casey DeSantis, Secretary Noah Valenstein of the Department of Environmental Protection and State Representative Bob Rommel joined with CCA to release redfish in Collier County. The releases continue into March, with eight stops along the coast where members, families and local dignitaries joined in to support the recovery of the fishery.

Each of the eight releases included approximately 2,000 juvenile fish and 25 to 30 adult redfish. Locations were chosen specifically by the Duke Energy Mariculture Center biologists and releases began when waters were determined safe.

Release locations included Brashers Park in Pasco County, Cockroach Bay in Hillsborough County, Ft. De Soto Park in Pinellas County, Turtle Beach in Sarasota County, Robinson Preserve in Manatee County, Tropical Point Park in Lee County, Capri Paddle Park in Collier County and Ponce De Leon Park in Charlotte County (scheduled for March 19th).

“We’re extremely excited to be leading an effort that will bring positive change to our marine resources, and our partnerships are what allow us to support this fishery, one redfish at a time,” said Brian Gorski, CCA Florida Executive Director.  “Between these releases, encouraging anglers to catch-and-release and promoting conservation, we’re going to see this fishery improve, and we’re honored to have the support of our Governor and other statewide offices to help make it happen.”

“Today’s event was important as the community works to restock the redfish population due to the devastating impact of red tide,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “With the release of this new life in the water, there is new life in our efforts to protect and restore our environment. I’ve heard from those throughout Florida who understand that our water must be safe for our families, visitors and economy. That’s why the budget the Governor has recommended to the legislature includes an unprecedented $625 million to support water quality efforts and ensure a clean and abundant supply of water for our future.”

“Duke Energy is committed to helping protect and preserve Florida’s natural environment,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president. “Our Mariculture Center advances environmental stewardship throughout the state by partnering with state/local agencies and universities on restoration projects.  The redfish we are donating will have long-term positive environmental impacts in the affected areas and we’re proud to play a small part in the solution to the recent red tide occurrence.”

“We are thankful for the leadership and efforts of CCA and Duke Energy on making this redfish enhancement possible,” said Eric Sutton, FWC Executive Director.  “We are proud to be a partner.”

CCA Florida hopes to conduct similar releases in the future and is constantly working for recreational anglers, fighting for clean water, defending access and supporting fisheries.  Anglers can become engaged by joining CCA Florida at JoinCCA.org.  Or visit us on our Facebook page.

Governor’s Office Press Release

Department of Environmental Protection Press Release

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