Thousands of spotted seatrout released in St. Louis Bay

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Thousands of juvenile spotted seatrout have a new home in St. Louis Bay. The USM Gulf Coast Research Lab teamed up with The Seatrout Population Enhancement Cooperative to make the release a success.

A hauling container held about 8,000 healthy spotted seatrout fingerlings that were released Thursday.

"It's the future," fisherman Robert Castoro said. "Those fish are going to go our there and make more fish."

Castoro was among other onlookers who anxiously waited for the tiny fish to be released into new water.

"This promotes healthy fishing for the whole community and hopefully we can extend this farther into the future so kids and their kids and their kids get a chance to catch some of the great fish in this area," said Castoro.

Aquaculture Technician Michael Lee tightly griped the plastic tube connected to the hauling container as the juvenile seatrout began to find their new home.

The 90-day-old seatrout were each tagged with a coded wire tag that DMR placed in their cheek. The tags have data encoded into it with information like the site of the release.

"We're putting healthy fish into the water and we just hope to give them a good start and put them in good estuaries where they have plenty of eating for their run," Michael Lee said.

Assistant Director of the Marine Aquaculture at the USM Gulf Coast Research Lab Dr. Reg Blaylock said he is passionate about the fingerlings being released.

"It's a project that looks to establish the techniques for using stock enhancement as a tool for managing our important marine resources," Blaylock said.

Stock enhancement helps rebuild the seatrout population, which is one of the most pressured species in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It bolsters the whole fishery of the coast. It's good for everybody," Castoro said.

Over a two week time period, about 50,000 spotted seatrout will be released into the bay.

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