Headline for Featured Item #1 Funds Committed for Sport Fish Research Center - Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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Funds Committed for Sport Fish Research Center

November 14, 2012


The Harte Research Support Foundation and the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) have committed more than $800,000 to establish, within the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the first research center for the study of sport fish in the Western Gulf of Mexico.

“Whether the challenges are catastrophic or ongoing, the HRI is at the forefront in creating solutions that protect and preserve the vast resources of the Gulf of Mexico,” said University President Flavius Killebrew. “The waters off the Texas coast have long been famous for attracting recreational anglers from throughout the world and this partnership with CCA will ensure that the sport fishing industry will continue to thrive for many years.”

The CCA Texas has pledged $500,000 in support of the center and the Harte Research Support Foundation is committing more than $300,000 to build a special purpose research vessel and to purchase supporting equipment.

“This partnership creates an exciting opportunity to focus on science that supports the multi-billion dollar recreational fishing industry on the Texas coast and the Gulf of Mexico,” said Dr. Larry McKinney, HRI’s Executive Director. “I could not think of a better partner than CCA Texas to make this dream a reality.”

CCA Texas is a leader in restoring the fisheries for spotted sea trout and red drum, advocating for freshwater inflows to Texas estuaries, habitat restoration, and education. The result of this commitment has been the creation of thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in economic benefits, and a healthier more productive environment. 

 “We know that sound science is the foundation on which we must build our conservation efforts,” said Robby Byers, Executive Director of CCA Texas. “HRI brings that credibility and expertise to this project as no other institute could. We are really excited about what the future holds for this research center.”

According to Dr. Greg Stunz, Endowed Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health at HRI and the Director of the new center, both inshore and offshore sport fish face many challenges to maintain healthy populations that require a robust base of scientific knowledge to assure the best decisions are made in managing fisheries and marine environment. These include a changing environment that is seeing diminished freshwater inflows to estuaries; habitat loss due to coastal development; and, increasing pressure from commercial fisheries.

“As researchers, we need the ability to step out of the trees and see the whole forest in order to address the truly pressing problems facing sport fisheries,” said Dr. Stunz.  “It is exciting for me and my team to finally have the resources to meet this challenge.”

CCA Texas and HRI will immediately begin to build the framework that will support the centers research activities and will include provisions to bring additional partners into the center. Like-minded conservation organizations, business and industry are anticipated as potential members. Other research organizations will also be able to participate and contribute to the center’s efforts to build the science base for conservation of sport fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.

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