ST. PETE BEACH, FL — AUGUST 20, 2012 — Two years after the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil well was finally capped, the largest gathering of scientists, fishery experts and government officials are gathering in St. Pete Beach to share the findings of their research, and to offer direction for further study.
The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium, on Sept. 14-15, is the first summit to bring together the various stakeholders in the Gulf's fishery, an annual multi-billion-dollar industry for Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
The oil gusher and the clear environmental damage in 2010 captivated international attention and raised doubts about the safety of eating Gulf of Mexico seafood. It also raised concerns about short- and long-term damage to fish stocks. Research to be presented at the symposium will begin to definitively address these issues.
The symposium will also present the results of research funded by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation's 2010 "Save Our Gulf" campaign, which raised $500,000 to fund gulf fisheries research related to the oil spill. It will bring together representatives from all sectors of the marine world - recreational and commercial fishermen, non-governmental and governmental agencies, politicians, fishing authorities and marine scientists - to explore vital issues facing the Gulf through presentations and panel discussions. More than 200 are expected to attend and participate.
The recommendations offered by the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium will also involve requesting funding from the $20 billion trust established by BP to respond to claims from individuals, businesses and government entities.
Headliners appearing at the symposium are Dr. Bill Hogarth, director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography and a former Assistant Administrator for Fisheries at NOAA, and Dr. Guy Harvey, celebrated artist, fisheries scientist and conservationist. The symposium's line-up includes Eric Schwaab, Acting Assistant Secretary for Conservation and Management, Gil McRae, Director, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI), Donald Kent, President of the Hubbs-Seaworld Institute, Dr. Bob Hueter from Mote Marine Laboratory, Dr. Mahmood Shivji, Director of the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Nova Southeastern University.
The ultimate mission of the symposium is to provide a platform where all stakeholder groups can share knowledge and move forward with a unified mission of a sustainable and healthy fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.
For a final agenda and listing of speakers and panelists, visit www.gulffisheriessymposium.com.
The symposium will be held at the TradeWinds Islands Resort on St. Pete Beach. The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Symposium is sponsored by NOAA, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the University of South Florida, the Florida Institute of Oceanography, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey Magazine.