After nearly two years of lobbying, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward announced today that the City of Pensacola has secured nearly $20 million in funding for a planned fish hatchery at the Bruce Beach site.
Originally presented to the City Council in June 2011, the Florida Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center is slated to include a state-of-the-art saltwater fish hatchery, an integrated coastal habitat plant production facility, and a venue for public outreach and education on marine resources conservation. The Council voted unanimously to authorize Mayor Hayward to negotiate a lease for the proposed hatchery at the Bruce Beach site, located south of Main Street west of the Community Maritime Park.
“This is a huge win for Pensacola,” said Mayor Hayward. “This hatchery will be a tremendous asset for our community and our region. Over the past two years, I’ve been fighting every day to make sure Pensacola gets the funding and the resources we deserve. I want to thank Governor Rick Scott for his continued leadership and advocacy for our state and for Northwest Florida.”
Governor Scott included the planned hatchery in his announcement this morning of $58 million in projects designed to aid the Florida Gulf Coast’s recovery from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Funding for the projects comes from $100 million set aside by BP for early restoration projects through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. Of the $58 million in total projects announced today by Governor Scott, more than $34 million will directly benefit Escambia County.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Florida has the nation’s largest recreational fishing industry, contributing in excess of $5 billion annually to the state’s economy and supporting one of the largest saltwater fishing-related tourism industries in the world. The Deepwater Horizon spill severely impacted recreational and commercial fishing and associated businesses.
For more information on the project, please see fmfei.org.