The Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a significant impact on the Gulf ecosystem. Recreational fishing is enjoyed by millions of Florida residents and visitors, supporting more than 50,000 jobs in Florida and generating more than $300 million in taxes each year. We have an obligation to ensure that our fisheries are maintained for future generations. As part of the recovery effort, the NRDA trustees agreed to construct a fish hatchery along the Gulf Coast.

The proposed Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center, commonly called the "hatchery," is planned for Pensacola’s Bruce Beach. This state-of-the-art facility would be built using $18 million in BP funds as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. 

Current Status
 
As of August 18, 2015, the project is putting the final touches on a RFQ going out to the State of Florida’s website. The next steps and milestone will be the evaluation of the submittals and the selection of an architectural engineering firm.  This will lead to the design process. 

The surveying and removal of debris piles will begin within next 90 – 120 days. 

Planning Coordinating Committee 
  • Gil McRae 
  • Tony McCray
  • Taylor "Chips" Kirschenfeld
  • Chasidy Hobbs
  • Brian Spencer
  • Sherry Morris
 Technical Coordinating Committee
  • Gil McRae
  • Sava Varazo
  • Robert Turpin
  • Andy Arnold
  • Chris Pomeroy
  • Glenn Conrad

Minutes to Meetings:
Planning Coordination Committee Meeting Minutes 1/27/15
Technical Coordination Committee Meeting Minutes 6/3/15
Project Scoping Meeting Agenda 4/26/16

Memorandum of Understanding: Link to memo

Calendar: 
No Events Scheduled at this Time.

Project Overview

hatchery-graphicThe proposed state-of-the-art hatchery would 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 (SERF)—the State-operated saltwater sportfish hatchery located in Port Manatee. Production of reared fish would take place indoors at the hatchery, rather than in outdoor holding and rearing ponds found at some similar facilities. Hatchery fish production would be based on the use of intensive (i.e., indoor, tank-based) recirculating aquaculture systems that reduce water usage and effluent discharge (i.e., most of the water is reused). Effluent would flow through a small constructed filtration marsh composed of native coastal wetland plant species to recycle nutrients from the aquaculture facility.  The nutrients would provide fertilizer to support an adjoining nursery. Plants produced at the nursery and in the wetland would be used to support ongoing regional coastal habitat restoration efforts. Project Overview Project Overview Project Overview proposed state-of-the-proposed state-of-the-The proposed Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center, commonly called the "hatchery," is planned for Pensacola’s Bruce Beach. This state-of-the-art facility would be built using $18 million in BP funds as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. The proposed Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center, commonly called the "hatchery," is planned for Pensacola’s Bruce Beach. This state-of-the-art facility would be built using $18 million in BP funds as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a significant impact on the Gulf ecosystem. Recreational fishing is enjoyed by millions of Florida residents and visitors, supporting more than 50,000 jobs in Florida and generating more than $300 million in taxes each year. We have an obligation to ensure that our fisheries are maintained for future generations. As part of the recovery effort, the NRDA trustees agreed to construct a fish hatchery along the Gulf Coast.

The proposed Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center, commonly called the "hatchery," is planned for Pensacola’s Bruce Beach. This state-of-the-art facility would be built using $18 million in BP funds as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process.

June 2011 Special City Council Meeting

Mayor Ashton Hayward: Hatchery will aid our recovery

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about the proposed Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center planned for Pensacola’s Bruce Beach. Commonly called the “hatchery,” this state-of-the-art facility would be built using $18 million in BP funds as part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process. Since taking office in 2011, I have been working with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission and Hubbs Sea World Research Institute to bring this project to Pensacola.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill had a significant impact on the Gulf ecosystem. Recreational fishing is enjoyed by millions of Florida residents and visitors, supporting more than 50,000 jobs in Florida and generating more than $300 million in taxes each year. We have an obligation to ensure that our fisheries are maintained for future generations. As part of the recovery effort, the NRDA trustees agreed to construct a fish hatchery along the Gulf Coast. This project is one of 44 currently being vetted through the NRDA process to ensure that they represent our best opportunity to restore our natural resources and coastal economy. The proposed hatchery will provide jobs, as well as tremendous opportunities for economic development, tourism, education, and research, and it is supported by a multitude of public and private organizations, as well as subject matter experts like marine scientist and conservationist Guy Harvey.

Some in the community have contended that our local water quality isn’t adequate to support hatchery-raised fish, and that we should focus on improving water quality instead of building the hatchery. My response is that this isn’t an either/or decision. We need to do both. Improving our local water quality is critical, and that’s why the City of Pensacola has spent more than $13 million on stormwater projects since I took office. That’s why we built the award-winning stormwater pond at Admiral Mason Park and why we’re planning a similar project at Corinne Jones Park. State and local agencies are spending more than $30 million annually on water quality improvement projects. The truth is that our water quality better than it’s been in years and continues to improve. More than 1600 samples over the past 10 years show declining levels of bacteria.

Others have suggested that the hatchery isn’t the best use of the Bruce Beach site, but the parcel simply isn’t a very attractive site for private development. It’s a transitional piece of property, located directly adjacent to an industrially-zoned tank farm. For decades, the site has been vacant, used by the City as a spoilage site for dredging operations at the Port of Pensacola and Community Maritime Park. The development of the hatchery at Bruce Beach is consistent with the 2010 CRA Plan, and the perfect way to reactivate this parcel and continue to diversify our waterfront.

I’ve heard a few people say that we should spend the money on something else, but the $18 million on the table now is not money that we can spend as we see fit. Those dollars are allocated to build a hatchery in Northwest Florida, and if our community doesn’t want it, then our friends in Walton County will certainly welcome it there, and they’ll be the ones to enjoy the benefits. I, for one, want those jobs in Pensacola. I want to see the educational opportunities this facility will provide for our local schools and universities. I want to continue to bolster Pensacola’s growing reputation as a center for research and innovation. This is a tremendous opportunity for our city, and I hope that we will come together to seize it.