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ICYMI: Coastal Conservation Association Florida, the Duke Energy Mariculture Center and the FWC continue redfish restocking efforts along West Coast

Executive Director Young restocking redfish
Media contact: Mary Hillyer Peelen Walther, 407-617-0604, Release Date: 04-12-2024   All Articles Tags:

Panama City, Fla. – Coastal Conservation Association Florida (CCA Florida), the state’s leading organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy, joined the Duke Energy Mariculture Center and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to kick off the 2024 Redfish Film Fest and release 50 hatchery-reared, adult redfish (averaging 18 to 27 inches in length) off the waters of Bay County on Thursday, in effort to combat the decreasing population along Florida’s West Coast.

In recent years, the redfish population has drastically declined as a result of water quality issues and loss of habitat. To counteract these effects, CCA Florida and its partners have taken a proactive approach to habitat restoration, water quality initiatives, fisheries management and restocking efforts for one of Florida’s most sought-after inshore fish, the redfish. 

“Every redfish released brings us another step closer to repopulating one of Florida’s most iconic fisheries,” said CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski. “Together with our dedicated partners, we are proud to continue conserving and protecting Florida’s marine resources along the West Coast and help launch this year’s Redfish Film Fest.” 

The latest restocking efforts for the nonprofit-corporate partnership are part of a multifunctional and multiyear strategy to rebuild and maintain game fish stocks, and releasing adult, slot-sized redfish makes a quicker impact to the fishery as it significantly increases the chances for spawning. 

“Duke Energy Florida has a long-standing relationship with Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and CCA Florida. Together we’re making a powerful impact protecting the state’s natural resources,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “We understand that environmental stewardship is vital to the success of local economies and critical to the communities we serve.” 

In the past five years with support from FWC, CCA Florida and Duke Energy have released nearly 450,000 redfish and spotted seatrout (4 to 30 inches) along Florida’s East and West Coasts to help provide abundant recreational fishing opportunities.   

"We are proud to support the collaborative restocking efforts of our valued partners, CCA Florida and Duke Energy," said FWC Executive Director Roger Young. "Ensuring the sustainability of our redfish population is crucial for conserving this important species and allowing us to continue to enjoy Florida's resources." 

The release happened on Thursday, April 11 at 12 p.m. at Destination Panama City, 101 West Beach Drive, Panama City, FL 32401. Together, the partners released about 50 slot-sized redfish from the Duke Energy Mariculture Center. FWC Executive Director Roger Young, FWC Chief Conservation Officer George Warthen along with state and local government officials attended.