Gulf Shores hatchery aiding the flounder population in Alabama waters

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GULF SHORES, Ala. (WKRG) – It’s something fairly new and needed along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Over the last week, flounder are being released into local waterways to help with the dwindling population.

“Last year was our first attempt at southern flounder spawning and we were successful fortunately in doing that. As I recall we had approximately 22,000 fish released from that spawning event,” said Kevin Anson with the Alabama Marine Resources Division.

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic over 34,000 flounder were released. More are expected to be released next month.

The process begins at the Claude Peteet Mariculture Center in Gulf Shores where the flounder, and other species of fish, are raised. It’s a thorough process to make sure the flounder have the right environment and equipment in place to continue their journey.

“All in were at about $175,000 worth of investment,” said Blakeley Ellis with the Coastal Conservation Association of Alabama.

A partnership between the two organizations helps make projects like this possible. The southern flounder population has been declining since about 2008 and it’s still not understood why that’s happening.

“We also use the fish that are produced here for research that we use for management of those species,” added Anson.

That’s what makes this coastal facility so important. It provides a valuable asset to Alabama waters. The first southern flounder release in coastal Alabama was in early 2020. The bag and size limit has been adjusted in the state to help with the falling population. The goal is to release about 60,000 flounder each year in local waterways to make sure the population numbers rise and don’t drop any further.

Spawning has been successful in Texas, but this has proven to be a successful operation in Alabama now, too.

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