Florida's Fish and Wildlife Health Program and Marine Stock Enhancement

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 10:40 AM
Marriott Ballroom A (The Marriott Little Rock)
Theresa Tomas Cody , Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Saint Petersburg, FL
Florida has long been committed to releasing healthy fish for marine stock enhancement, and the state’s primary focus has been on red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus). The Fish and Wildlife Health research group within the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute has a major role in ensuring this goal is met. Our activities include 1) monitoring the health of red drum at the FWC’s marine hatchery throughout the rearing period, prior to release, and after recapture, 2) gathering baseline health data on red drum and other potential aquaculture species, 3) providing recommendations for treatment, 4) conducting applied research to promote health of stock, and 5) review of health certifications required under special activities licenses (SAL) issued to external facilities releasing aquatic organisms.  Applicants must adhere to general guidelines outlined in the FWC SAL. Our near term challenge is to develop, with external partners, a health policy for the release of aquatic animals which will cover finfish and invertebrates.