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Local group works to add a fishery to Pine Island

Posted: 10:37 PM, Jun 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-07 07:56:49-04

PINE ISLAND, Fla. — Last summer's red tide and blue-green algae blooms left thousands of fish dead, and local fisherman felt the consequences.

One of those fishermen is George Halper, founder, and president of the Florida Fishery Foundation in Cape Coral. The nonprofit group wants to build the first fishery on Pine Island.

"Our mission is to help nature by replenishing the fisheries, hatcheries from the area, and to be able to develop satellite fish hatcheries," Halper said.

The goal is to designate two acres of land on Pine Island for the model hatchery, with construction to be completed by fall. They want to breed fingerling redfish and produce an estimated 10,000 fish in the first year.

"We can release about every five months fingerlings, 7 to 10-inch fish, that will have a survival rate of somewhere between 15 and 25 percent," Halper said.

But funding is what's missing from beginning construction. Florida Fishery Foundation's GoFundMe page opened today intending to raise $250,000.

"Right now our main thing is getting people involved, even if they give just five dollars on the Go Fund Me," Halper said.

This project could be a potential solution to the slimming marine life population in Florida due to the water crisis. The Florida Fishery Foundation estimates within a few years to release hundreds of thousands of fish a year.

Florida is also receiving $44 million from the federal government to help rebuild fisheries destroyed by Hurricane Irma.

"The key to this is satellite-fish hatcheries, where we can teach anybody. Be able to produce the type of fish you want for your area, whether it's salt or freshwater," Halper said.

Florida is also receiving $44 million from the federal government to help rebuild fisheries destroyed by Hurricane Irma.

For more information about Florida Fishery Foundation, click here .

To donate to their cause, visit their Facebook page.