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Local fishery gets leased location on Pine Island

By Staff | Jul 30, 2019

An organization hoping to help restore the Pine Island Sound is moving forward with the construction of its first planned fishery, thanks to a major donation.

Pine Islander Michael Dreikorn recently offered a long-term lease on an approximate four-acre parcel for use by the newly formed Florida Fishery Foundation.

The fishery would be the first on Pine Island.

“I’m fortunate that I own the land and I believe this is the right thing to do,” Dreikorn said. “The Florida Fishery Foundation has a lot of potential to make a difference in our fishing.”

According to its website, the mission of the Florida Fish Hatchery Foundation is “to develop a small, yet expandable, working model (tank based) grow-out facility that will produce 10,000-plus 8- to 10-inch redfish fingerlings in the first year. At the end of the year these fingerlings will be released within Pine Island Sound at various locations.”

“Our mission statement is to provide a clear path to enhance Florida fish stocks for future generations while concurrently strengthening the economy,” Florida Fishery Foundation President George Halper said.

Phase I was to establish the non-profit organization and set up a Facebook page and a website to get people involved.

“So far we’ve been very successful with that,” Halper said.

In Phase II, the group plans to raise the money to expand on the media outreach.

In Phase III, the group hopes to attract large corporate sponsors.

“Our fundraising is going great,” Halper said. “The land Michael Dreikorn is leasing us has water, electric and even a 100-foot by 150-foot gravel pad where we can construct a steel building within a few months. Then we can acquire some tanks, pumps, pipes and build a perk field.”

Dreikorn has agreed to a five-year lease at no cost.

“We are reaching a tipping point with what the governments have allowed to happen to our water and I know if we don’t stand up and do something nothing will happen,” he said.

“One small 5,000-gallon tank can produce up to 5,000 redfish twice a year,” Halper said. “Now 10,000 fish won’t make a big difference, but by adding more tanks to the system you produce more fish and Michael has offered a lease that is both renewable and expandable.”

“Our main focus is the children,” Halper added. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here but we want to place as many fish as possible as soon as possible. Our kids need a good fishery right now.”