Release the Fish! Steps Forward After the Red Tide


Sarah Blazonis, Spectrum News 9

The redfish to be released along Florida's Gulf Coast.

Brendan Guillen, Reporter

Over the next few weeks, the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida will release approximately 16,000 redfish into southwest Florida waters to revive the ecosystem devastated by the red tide. The first release occurred in Pasco County on February 5th, 2019.

In 2018, an unprecedented amount of dead algae bloomed along Florida’s Gulf Coast and the toxins released killed off 2,000 tons worth of wildlife. This red tide, which is an annual occurrence, also irritated people’s skin and lead to respiratory issues which were found more frequently in those with asthma. Now that the water has cleared, the time has come to replenish the aquatic populations.

CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski hoped this would be the first step in the rehabilitation process, adding that “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.” An estimated 2,000 juvenile redfish and 25 adult redfish will be released in each of the following counties: Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, and Manatee.

The efforts will help make up for the $8 million dollars spent on cleanup and tourist-reliant businesses.