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Series of releases are replenishing our fish population

Dan Cushman said he had to see this with his own eyes.

“To actually see someone putting sweat and tears and work like these guys said they did, six years they raised these fish just to put them back in, our little spot of water,” Dan said. “It’s a lot of work and a lot of time and effort.”

Cushman and dozens of others helped the Coastal Conservation Association Florida team, a non-profit social movement organization of saltwater anglers, release thousands of redfish into the water off of St. James City.

Lee Alberts brought his daughter, Kelsey, along.

“I just enjoy fishing more than anything,” Lee said. “It’s good to see them doing something proactive to put the fish back into the water after the red tide event.”

“I’ll just be really excited,” Kelsey said.

The purpose of the release was to help replenish the hundreds of thousands of fish killed off in last year’s red tide. Brian Gorski, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association Florida, said the 2,000 fish that swim off today would quickly have a significant impact.

“We got thirty adults and let’s just say half of those are females,” Brian said. “One female when they spawn can produce up to a million to two hundred eggs, so even if just one female reproduces there’s potential for one to two million red fish eggs to be here in the home waters.”

Helping our waters heal, drawing tourist to the area and once again bringing fishermen on board. Brian said they are also geotagging all of the adult fish to keep track of their progress.

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Release dates and locations:

Lee County – March 12th at 11 a.m. – Tropical Point Park (3401 Tropical Point Drive, St. James City, FL 33956)

Collier County – March 15th at 11 a.m. – Shell Island Boat Launch (10 Shell Island Road, Naples, FL 34113)

Charlotte County – March 19th at 11 a.m. – Ponce De Leon Park (3400 Ponce de Leon Parkway, Punta Gorda, FL 33950)

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