FWC News Release
Contact: Daniel Bourg, Donor Relations Manager,
Wildlife Foundation of Florida
P.O. Box 11010
Tallahassee, Florida 32302

Wednesday, Congressman Tom Feeney will visit the site of the former New Smyrna Beach High School, now under consideration for redevelopment by the Florida Saltwater Hatchery and Habitat Restoration Initiative. The Initiative, a collaborative public/private effort, creates a network of statewide fish hatcheries and ecosystem restoration sites to keep Florida's saltwater fishing and marine habitats healthy and thriving.

Wednesday, Nov. 28
1:30 p.m. - Project briefing at Brannon Center
105 S. Riverside Drive, New Smyrna Beach
***Site tour to follow briefing***

The Initiative will help sustain a healthy fish population for the immediate and far-distant future, preserving Florida’s bragging rights as the "Fishing Capital of the World" and maintaining the fishing industry's almost $8 billion annual contribution to the state's economy.

Focused on the production of select marine fish, the Initiative will be a holistic approach to fisheries management incorporating stock enhancement and habitat restoration. The best available science will guide the process and enable Florida to provide global leadership in sustaining productive fisheries.

The model for the hatchery and habitat restoration effort is to build on available sites and not be locked into a single footprint design. The Initiative uses a rapid site assessment (RSA) model to help determine quickly whether a site has promise. Thanks to interested local citizens, the 22-acre former high school is now available. Congressman Feeney will visit this site to learn more about the latest site plans and potential impact and benefits to the local community.

Congressman Feeney invited representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to review the site as a training facility for the Coastal Ocean Observation System (COOS). This international program monitors the oceans, and Florida hopes to become a center of excellence for the COOS.