Whitney Lab Releases 100K Red Drum in an effort to increase fish populations in local Florida waters
Published: Thursday, February 10, 2022
In an effort to increase Red Drum populations in local Florida waters, the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience released 100,000+ Red Drum (known to many as Redfish) into the waterways near and in the area of the lab on February 9, 2022. Laboratory staff, volunteers and local boat captains participated in this initiative.
Wild, local breeding Red Drum broodstock were collected by Dr. James Liao and his lab as part of Yamaha Right Waters tagging program from the St. Augustine and Matanzas Inlet. Dr. Leonardo Ibarra-Castro and his lab then naturally spawned broodstock in Oct. 2021, collected eggs and raised 100,000, 2.5” long juveniles, 110 days old, under controlled conditions until their release on February 9. Prior to release, juveniles were examined by a team from the University of Florida/IFAS Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory and screened for any microbiology diseases. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reviewed the health report, deemed them healthy for release, and granted the release permit and ability to release to the waterways within a 15-mile radius of the Whitney Laboratory.
Several boat captains arrived at the Whitney dock in the morning to receive 5 gallon buckets of fish shuttled with help from staff and volunteers from Whitney’s Fish Aquaculture 18,000-gallon flow-through tanks. The captains took them to their favorite fishing locations within the designated radius. Support for this release came from the Whitney Laboratory. This is a continuation of fish restoration efforts from the lab in fall 2021 where millions of red drum larvae were released into the Matanzas Estuary and Indian River Lagoon. The Whitney team is looking to do further research on release conservation methods in the future.
Thank you to all who joined us!