The Stock Enhancement Research Facility celebrated its "One Millionth Redfish" with former governor, Jeb Bush.
On October 4th, 2001, FMRI's Stock Enhancement Research Facility and former governor, Jeb Bush released the millionth hatchery-raised redfish into Tampa Bay.
Bush, donning white boots, released the first of ten redfish that would symbolize the "One Millionth Redfish" raised for Project Tampa Bay. This fish and nine others were released into the Alafia River from Williams Park in Riverview, Florida. Following the initial release of the ten "Governor's Fish," there was a bucket brigade to the river's edge of biologists, journalists, and anyone else who wanted to help release an additional 200 redfish.
Each one of "Jeb's Reds," as some called them, were fitted with special, visible internal anchor tags that read "Governor's Fish" and a number, "01" through "10." The first five anglers that catch one of the former governor's fish will be rewarded with a limited-edition gyotaku redfish print donated by local artist Alisa Utamating.
Project Tampa Bay is a unique stock-enhancement program designed to demonstrate the strategy for cost-effective, marine, stock enhancement in the state of Florida. It is one of the most scientifically complete efforts of its kind in the world. Redfish are one of Florida's most popular nearshore game fish and an economic asset as well. A recent study estimated that saltwater fishing brought 4.4 billion dollars in annual revenue to the state in 2001.
The redfish are raised to different stages of life at the Florida Marine Research Institute's hatchery in Port Manatee, Florida,and then released. The goal of the experiment is to increase the redfish population in Tampa Bay by 25% so more fish are available for recreational anglers.
The Governor attended the redfish-release ceremony with FWC Commissioner David Meehan, other legistrative members, and community leaders. The former governor applauded the efforts of the Florida Marine Research Institute and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Florida for their part in realizing the importance of conservation in our state.
Prior to July 1, 2004, the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute was known as the Florida Marine Research Institute.