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Pensacola awarded oil spill money to build new fish hatchery downtown
PENSACOLA -- More fish are coming to the gulf coast.
The city of Pensacola is getting nearly 20 million dollars to build a new fish hatchery and research facility.
The "Florida Gulf Coast Marine Fisheries Hatchery and Enhancement Center" will be built on Bruce Beach, west of Maritime Park.
Money for the project is coming from an oil spill recovery fund.
Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward has been lobbying the state for the cash since 2011.
Mayor Ashton Hayward says the gulf needs more fish.
And that's just what the facility will provide.
Eric Bolling, Fisherman: "We need something to boost our bay."
Eric Bolling and other fisherman we spoke with were more than happy to hear about the project.
Eric Bolling, Fisherman:"Fish have slowed down the last two years. We're seeing this year a real late start."
Capt. Jim Olson, Owner, PensacolaCharterFishingX.com: "If they can produce more stock, more fisheries, more fish out there for everybody to catch, it
sure will make everybody's job a little bit easier as a boat captain."
This rocky, sandy chunk of land will contain the facility, which Mayor Hayward says will grow all kinds of fish.
Mayor Ashton Hayward, (R) Pensacola: "We'll be able to take 'em and obviously move 'em across the Northwest Florida Panhandle." The mayor says the project will give a big shot in the arm to our local economy.
"Our ocean's depleted, the Gulf's depleted. You know, a lot of the commercial side is a big interest in this because right now they're buying fish from the east and from Asia."
Plans also call for a Coastal Habitat Plant Production facility, and an educational venue.
The 18.7 million dollars the city is getting will fund construction and the facility's operation for five years.