1,800 fish released into Phillippi Creek

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 5:49 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and online fishing club, Salt Strong teamed up to released 1,800 Red Drum fish into Phillippi Creek on Thursday.

The fish were raised in a hatchery, growing to be about six to 11 inches before being put in the water.

This was the sixth release day, as part of a bigger three-week slate of eight releases that will result in 20,000 Red Drum being added into local estuaries.

The Red Drum population is doing well overall, but Mote Marine Lab’s Ryan Schloesser says there are some parts of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida’s east coast that could use an influx of the fish.

“Red tide and cold stuns are all things that impact fisheries throughout southwest Florida and Red Drum is no exception. The other thing is habitat quality. With development, unfortunately we lose a lot of that high quality habitat that fish use to survive,” says Schloesser.

These fish are key to the states recreational fishing industry, which generates nearly $14 billion a year.

“It’s definitely the most popular species for in-shore fishing. Really every weekend there’s a tournament,” says Luke Simonds, Salt Strong’s co-founder.

The fish are equipped with tags that will allow the organizations to track data about which fish are still alive, hoping to make future fish releases more efficient and allow both the fish and fishers to enjoy Florida’s beautiful wildlife.