Marine Fisheries Hatchery & Enhancement Center

Fish Hatchery Rendering Site SchematicThis state-of-the-art facility is being built and operated using $18 million in BP funds as part of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. The facility will incorporate the latest technological advances in aquaculture techniques and approaches the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has learned during 25 years of operation of the Stock Enhancement Research Facility for saltwater sportfish in Port Manatee, Florida. In addition to stock enhancement the facility will provide a center for further marine research and education for elementary, secondary, university and graduate students.

Fish production will be conducted indoors within closed tanks with viewing portals and television monitors to enable researches and casual public visitors visual access to the fish. Most water will be reused but any water effluent will be treated internally. Solids will be discharged to the sanitary sewer while the remaining clean saltwater will be infiltrated through swales into the ground seeping back to the bay.

Public access and amenities are planned to highlight the cultural and historical aspects of the site as the former Bruce Dry Dock and Bruce Beach Pool. A bridge over Washerwoman’s Creek continues the public promenade westward from the Community Maritime Park onto the Center property and along the waterfront to observation points and out to the coastal marsh wetland restoration area. A kayak ramp is included in the plans with improvements to Clubbs Street and Cul-de-sac parking for paddle craft vehicles.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a significant impact on the Gulf ecosystem. Recreational fishing is enjoyed by millions of Florida’s residents and visitors and employs over 50,000 Floridians. Fishing generates over $300 million in tax revenue annually to the State. In collaboration with the many habitat restoration and water quality projects conducted under the various NRDA, NFWF and RESTORE funds, this project will enhance repopulation of those habitats within the cleaner water provided through complimentary projects, thereby completing the ecosystem restoration of the marine flora and fauna.

Quick Facts

  • The Center is not a fish farm.
  • There will not be an odor from the hatchery facility.
  • The City cannot simply decide to relocate the Center.
  • The project preserves and enhances access to the bay.
  • The project incorporates and memorializes the historical contributions of African Americans to the development of Bruce Beach.
  • The City will be liable for the $805,000 already spent on the project.
  • No one has presented an alternative development plan for Bruce Beach to the City.
  • The project is fully permitted and bid out for construction.
  • Five states, six federal agencies and British Petroleum had to approve the project.
  • City Council voted on three separate occasions to approve the project at Bruce Beach.
  • There were multiple opportunities over many years for public input on the project.
  • The Florida Fish and Wild Conservation Commission (FWC) has a 30-year lease on the property.
  • FWC is responsible for the operation and maintenance costs.
  • The Center is part of a Gulf-wide restoration effort.
Render 2 - From Main Street  - without trees and with buses - rev
Rendering Classroom 1