Red Drum fingerlings move into new home | News | The Press and Standard

by | November 17, 2017 5:00 am

Last Updated: November 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

By GEORGE SALSBERRY
gsalsberry@lowcountry.com

Erin Levesque and Emily Becker rolled up to the Bennetts Point boat dock the morning of Nov. 8 with the community’s newest residents.
Levesque and Becker, biologists stationed at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s Waddell Mariculture Center in Bluffton, were transporting about 13,500 red drum fingerlings to release into the waters.
The fingerlings, between two and three inches long, came shooting out of the release pipe at the rear of the trailer and into their new home.
The fingerlings had spent between 30-40 days of their life in a large pond. While Levesque and Becker were transporting the fingerlings to Bennetts Point, biologist Charlie Bridgham remained back at Waddell, preparing the pond for its next school of residents.
Prior to releasing the small fish, Levesque and Becker checked the water to insure that it was not significantly different from the water in the tank. Too big a difference in the water could endanger the young fish.
Released into the wild, the red drum fingerlings will continue to grow while hopefully eluding the fish and birds interested in making them a meal.
It will take about two years for the red drum to grow to the size, 15-23 inches, that allows fishermen to keep their catch.
Cottageville’s Charles Griffith, Colleton County’s representative on the Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee, was at the boat landing to watch the release of the fingerlings.
That committee makes recommendations on how the proceeds from the saltwater recreational fishing license are used, and stocking the coastline with game fish is one of those uses.

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