A few months ago, beachlines in Florida coastal counties were littered with thousands of dead fish as a result of a toxic algae bloom plaguing the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. In February, several state wildlife groups will begin releasing red fish to replenish some of those lost populations.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have linked marine animals deaths off Florida's coasts to a toxic algae bloom that has persisted in the Gulf of Mexico for over a year. Red tide can also kill off large numbers of fish.
The Coastal Conservation Association of Florida and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will begin this month releasing 1,000 to 1,500 juvenile fish and 25 to 30 adult redfish per county in Pasco, Hillsborough, Saarasota, Charlotee, Lee, Collier and Manatee counties.
CCA Florida executive director Brian Gorski said the fish release is happening now because the waters have been determined safe again.
“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 be a part of it," Gorski said.
Some of the fish were donated from the hatchery at Duke Energy Mariculture Center in Cyrstal River.
“Our Mariculture Center advances environmental stewardship throughout the state by partnering with state/local agencies and universities on restoration projects," Duke Energy Florida president Catherine Stempien said. "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.”
Anglers can help and learn more about the program by visiting JoinCCA.org.
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