The release was a collaboration among Port Tampa Bay, Duke Energy, and the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida (CCA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of Florida’s marine resources. The CCA led siting and permitting efforts for the fish release.
The donated redfish, raised at Duke Energy’s Crystal River Marticulture Center, were transported from the truck to the water in bags and tubes and released carefully into the water. At about 8-inches each, the fish now are at the perfect age to spawn up to two million eggs at a time. Within three years, redfish can grow to about 28 inches and up to 9 pounds.
“The redfish released today illustrate Duke Energy’s commitment to being both a good steward of the environment and a good community partner,” said Catherine Stempien, President of Duke Energy Florida. “Since its opening in 1991, our Crystal River Mariculture Center has cultivated and released 4 million fish, shrimp, and crabs into the Gulf of Mexico. The center also grows seagrasses to support the habitats of manatees and other marine life that live in the waterways that make Tampa Bay and Florida a special place to live and work.”
The redfish release is one example of how Port Tampa Bay is committed to preserving the environment and the waterways in Tampa Bay. Among its other efforts, the port emphasizes pollution prevention, preserving natural resources, reducing waste, and resiliency against climate change. The port is currently in the siting and permitting process of building an artificial reef to preserve the coral reefs.
"Redfish are an important recreation fish species whose populations have been historically impacted by degraded water quality issues and harmful algae blooms,” said Chris Cooley, Port Tampa Bay Director of Environmental Affairs. “Port Tampa Bay is dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the waters and habitats in and around Tampa Bay. We have a long history of successful environmental initiatives, including habitat restoration, our award-winning mitigation projects, and now this redfish release."
The redfish release was also Port Tampa Bay’s kick-off to its annual BaySlam Fishing Tournament, a catch-and-release-style tournament scheduled for Nov. 13 to launch from the Tampa Convention Center docks. The tournament raises money for the Tampa Bay Maritime Scholarship Foundation Inc., which provides scholarships to students in need seeking to further their study in maritime sciences and maritime-related careers; and the Seafarer's Center, which provides a home-away-from-home and a non-denominational, spiritual activity center for traveling mariners to Port Tampa Bay.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S. It employs 30,000 people and has an electric generating capacity of 51,000 megawatts through its regulated utilities, and 3,000 megawatts through its nonregulated Duke Energy Renewables unit. The Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit’s regulated utilities serve approximately 7.7 million retail electric customers in six states, including Florida.