First Lady Casey DeSantis and Junior Rangers Madison and Mason DeSantis Join FWC and DEP for Red Tide Recovery Redfish Release

Press release from the Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis, Junior Rangers Madison and Mason DeSantis, along with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Shawn Hamilton, joined representatives from Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Florida, Duke Energy Florida, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to continue red tide recovery efforts with the shoreline release of approximately 20,000 redfish in Wakulla County.

“Today’s event is important as the community works to restock the redfish population that has been impacted by red tide,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “I’ve heard from many throughout Florida who understand that our water must be safe for our families, visitors, and economy. That is why the Governor has made the protection of Florida’s water resources a top priority, dedicating record funding towards water restoration initiatives.”

The releases included approximately 20,000 juvenile fish (4 to 8 inches in length) and 500 sub-adult redfish (12 to 18 inches in length), which were all raised and donated from the Duke Energy Mariculture Center in Crystal River.
As part of a multiyear process to rebuild and maintain redfish stocks, more than 100,000 redfish fingerlings and spotted sea trout will be released by the end of this year along Florida’s west coast to help provide abundant recreational fishing opportunities.

“This is a great day to celebrate not only the release of these 20,000-plus new redfish, but also this partnership between the public and private sectors,” said DEP Secretary Shawn Hamilton. “It is opportunities like this for collaboration and innovation that will help us achieve more now for Florida’s environment, continue our recovery from this red tide event, and accomplish the water quality improvements set forth in Governor DeSantis’ executive order.”

“Governor DeSantis and First Lady DeSantis have shown tremendous support for the conservation of our natural resources and habitat restoration in Florida,” said FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton. “We are thankful for this collaboration and partnership with DEP, CCA, and Duke Energy Florida to enhance our world-class fisheries and support Florida’s ecosystems and economy.”

“CCA Florida is proud to be leading the red tide recovery efforts with Duke Energy,” said CCA Florida Executive Director Brian Gorski. “In addition to the fish releases, we’re researching the most cost-effective way to clean up fish kills from red tides, thereby improving our water quality and air quality within our coastal communities. We’re confident we’ll see conditions improve, and we’re honored to have the support of our Governor and other statewide agencies to help make it happen.”

“The Duke Energy Mariculture Center delivers on the company’s commitment to help protect and preserve Florida’s natural resources,” said Duke Energy Florida President Melissa Seixas. “Collaborating with state and local agencies, universities, and nonprofit organizations on restoration projects helps the vitality of the communities we serve. The redfish we’re donating will have long-term positive environmental and economic impacts in affected areas.”