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Donation to Marine Aquaculture Center Helps Seatrout Restoration

Thu, 12/17/2020 - 15:15pm | By: Margaret Ann Macloud

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory-Cedar Point Site

Gulf Coast Research Laboratory-Cedar Point Site

Coastal Conservation AssociationThe Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center at The University of Southern Mississippi recently received a gift from the Mississippi Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) to support the center’s seatrout restoration program.

The $5,000 donation from the state’s CCA chapter was presented during the 13th annual Ernie Zimmerman Friends and Family Live Catch Tournament in Bay St. Louis. The tournament, hosted by the CCA Mississippi Bay Chapter, is a way for local anglers to assist the Thad Cochran Marine Aquaculture Center (TCMAC) in supplying broodstock for research conducted at the center. The donation from the CCA will supply food and other necessary items for those fish.

Since its inception in 2004, the seatrout restoration program has worked very closely through a successful partnership with the local CCA chapters to coordinate both collections and release efforts. In addition to support for collections and releases, CCA chapters have provided equipment, monetary donations, and volunteered time and assistance to the program.

“We are thankful and humbled by the support we have received from this group over the years as we continue to conduct research to provide the state of Mississippi with a tool that can be used alongside traditional management techniques to expedite recovery time and also create sustainability in the seatrout fishery in Mississippi,” TCMAC Hatchery Manager Angelos Apeitos said.

“We are proud to be able to help support the efforts of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory,” CCA Mississippi Chairman Tommy Elkins said. “Working with this group is so easy since we share the same wishes for our marine resources. I look forward to continuing this work and supporting future programs with them.”

TCMAC works with industry, government and non-profit organizations to alleviate the bottlenecks that constrain the production of marine species. Spotted seatrout grown at the center are used for stock enhancement, commercial production, and research studies that improve knowledge of the species. TCMAC produced over 145 million fertile spotted seatrout eggs in 2019 with 1.6 million eggs transferred to the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources for pond culture experiments and 200,000 juveniles raised at TCMAC released into local bays and estuaries.

“USM is pleased to partner with CCA, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources and others to promote spotted seatrout conservation, research, and outreach,” said Dr. Kelly Lucas, Associate Vice President for Research, Coastal Operations and TCMAC Director. “It is through these types of partnerships and programs with stakeholders and the public that we support and engage in our community.”