Governor Rick Scott announced that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is providing $1.2 million to enhance research and production of redfish at the FWC Stock Enhancement Research Facility at Port Manatee. This funding will help the FWC to address impacts of naturally occurring red tide on redfish populations in coastal marine fisheries. With this additional funding, the facility is anticipated to produce six times the amount of redfish for stocking in Southwest Florida, providing a significant boost to the population of this important species. Governor Scott has also directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to provide $9 million in grant funding to assist local communities.
Governor Scott said, “Today, as we continue to do everything possible to help our communities impacted by red tide, I am directing $1.2 million from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to enhance the redfish population. Along the Gulf Coast, businesses and fishermen rely on the robust health of Florida’s world-class fisheries. With this investment we are not only supporting our environment, but also these Floridians who make their living on the water. Together, the state and our partners along the Gulf Coast will keep fighting to support our impacted communities as we battle red tide.”
FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton said, “Florida is the Fishing Capital of the World. Not only are our fisheries robust, but they are also incredibly resilient to the impacts of natural events, like red tide. We will continue to enhance our management efforts of this world-class fishery for future generations.”
Brian Gorski, Coastal Conservation Association Florida Executive Director, said, “We’re pleased to see the increased and continued support from Governor Scott to address the devastation to the redfish population in our southwest coastal waters. 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 effort – along with other stocking initiatives by organizations like CCA Florida, FWC, Duke Energy and others – will help to repopulate a fishery that’s iconic to our state.”
The FWC’s Stock Enhancement Research Facility (SERF) in Port Manatee, Florida, spawns and raises hatchery fish for stock enhancement in Florida waters. By acquiring additional equipment and supplies necessary to expand hatchery operations, the FWC can effectively increase the capacity at which the SERF currently functions. This stocking effort will support and sustain local redfish populations and address concerns regarding impact of red tide on marine fisheries along the coast of Southwest Florida. More information about the facility can be found HERE.