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FWC Press Release

September 3, 2003


Contact: Allison McDonald
(727) 896-8626 (2076)



Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Florida Marine Research Institute (FMRI) accepted a coveted honor today during the FWC's regular meeting at Pensacola Beach.

Staff with the FWC-FMRI's Sport Fish Health Project received the "Outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Research and Survey Project of the Year" award from the American Fisheries Society for their work in monitoring the health of Florida's marine sport fish.

Scientific breakthroughs during the past several decades have enabled large numbers of marine fish to be raised to a size suitable for stock enhancements. The FWC-FMRI Aquatic Health Group has developed a unique fish health program to detect, prevent, and treat marine fish health problems as they arise during stock assessment efforts.

"Diseases and die-offs of marine animals in Florida are one of the most challenging environmental issues scientists deal with today," said FMRI director Gil McRae.

The FWC's Stock Enhancement Research Facility (SERF) in Port Manatee relies on data collected by the aquatic health group to support Project Tampa Bay: a five-year stock enhancement assessment project where red drum are raised and released into Tampa Bay. Because stressors like confinement, harvesting, and tagging can result in parasite infestations and bacterial infections, fish health is closely monitored.

"Staff of the Sport Fish Health Project have taken on this challenge with enthusiasm, innovation, and a spirit of collaboration that is the hallmark of their success. We are honored that the American Fisheries Society saw fit to recognize these deserving staff," McRae said.





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