CCA Texas Funds $225,000 for New Southern Flounder Annex Building

CCA Texas Staff
CCA Texas Funds $225,000 for New Southern Flounder Annex Building
Existing “test” gates at Nueces Delta Water Control Project.
Background: Courtesy of David Abrego and Shane Bonnot Sea Center Texas

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) has initiated an effort to hatchery-rear juvenile southern flounder for purposes of stock enhancement. The primary goal has been to develop the capability for culturing this species on a large-scale basis so that there is flexibility to respond to changing management needs (e.g., stocking to compensate for year class failures owing to catastrophic events such as cold-kills).

To that end, Sea Center Texas (SCT) hatchery staff has made considerable progress in developing protocols to spawn captive flounder broodstock, hatch-out larvae and rear fry in outdoor culture ponds. Since 2009, the stock enhancement program has stocked over 103,000 southern flounder fingerlings into Sabine Lake, and Galveston and Aransas Bays, with the SCT contributing over 96,000 to the overall total.

Initial grow-out trials conducted by staff indicate that flounder larvae have little tolerance of temperature and salinity changes, grow slower, have strict nutritional needs and are much more delicate than red drum and spotted seatrout. Flounder must be kept indoors and housed for longer periods of time thus limiting the amount of larvae we can work with due to a lack of incubators and tank space. As such, the ability to rear juvenile flounder is contingent on having a large number of larvae for stocking in grow-out ponds or raceways.

Limiting factors at SCT that prevent large scale production flounder larvae include a lack of building infrastructure and equipment to house and rear large numbers of larvae in various stages of development, SCT's inability to control their environment (temperature, salinity) and a limited ability to produce primary food production through the current first feeding systems.
To address these limiting factors, SCT has set aside funding in the amount of $125,000, dedicated for the acquisition/initial start-up of a gable-style metal building for the southern flounder program.

Equipped with tanks, raceways, water filtration systems, chillers and heaters, etc., the building, will provide additional hatchery floor space for flounder broodstock and incubation equipment while allowing SCT to have more control on environmental conditions enhancing SCT capacity to house and rear larger numbers of adult and larvae. The increased number of larvae will provide more opportunities for staff to conduct research projects and refine protocols to spawn captive flounder broodstock, culture larvae, and rear fry in outdoor culture ponds enhancing our ability to rear the species on a large-scale basis.

CCA Texas Executive Board approved $225,000 in funding for the Southern Flounder Annex Building at Sea Center Texas at the May 2014 meeting. This $225,000 approval is $100,000 above the original request by TPWD. These additional funds will be used to purchase the necessary equipment to make this project a success. Equipment to be purchased includes seawater storage reservoirs, filtration systems, circulation pumps, fiberglass fish culture tanks and heat pumps.

CCA Texas continues to step forward in ensuring a healthy coastal resource and sustainable fisheries for the recreational fishermen and women of Texas. These funds would not be possible without the continued support of our members and sponsors.

Habitat Today for Fish Tomorrow (HTFT) News
CCA Texas's habitat initiative continues to keep moving forward. Several projects are beginning construction and or nearing completion. These include the Restoration of Cedar Bayou and Vinson Slough, Bird Island Marsh Restoration in West Galveston Bay, the East Galveston Bay Oyster Restoration and the Nueces Delta Water Control Project.

Cedar Bayou is moving along. CCA Texas representatives, along with Aransas County and the RLB Construction, held a site visit on May 21st. The hydraulic dredging is moving briskly as well as the mechanical excavation of Vinson Slough and Cedar Bayou. Weekly or bi-weekly updates are posted under the conservation tab of for the general public to follow. As a reminder, the Cedar Bayou Vinson Slough area is a designated work area and permission must be obtained before entering.

The East Galveston Bay Oyster Restoration project will be nearing completion by the time this issue of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine hits the news stands. Once completed, 180 acres of oyster reef will be restored in East Galveston Bay. This work includes 85 acres at Hannah's, 70 acres at Pepper Grove, 15 acres at Middle Reef and 10 acres at CCA Middle Reef.

Nueces Delta Preserve Water Control Project began site construction the week of June 2nd. Once completed, water that is pumped into the Nueces Delta will stay in the delta and make it's way to the bay to provide much needed fresh water and nourishment. This joint effort between Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries and CCA Texas is another great example of NGOs working together to ensure a healthy coastal resource.

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