February 23, 2018  

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Memorial Tournament Supports GCRL Sport Fishing Research, Education

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John Rea, right, president of MS Gulf Coast Fishing Tournaments Inc., presents a check for $2,000 to Read Herndon of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. (Submitted photo)

Sport fishing research and education conducted at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) received a boost recently from MS Gulf Coast Fishing Tournaments Inc. 

John Rea, president of the non-profit corporation established in 2011, presented Read Hendon of the GCRL with a check for $2,000 to support research and education activities focusing on coastal sport fish species. The presentation was made at the awards ceremony for the Dr. Chris Spraberry Memorial Trophy Trout Tournament on May 13 at The Dock Bar & Grill in Gulfport, Miss. 

Rea’s contribution will go into the newly established GCRL Sport Fishing Research Fund to support undergraduate research and Sea Camp scholarships.

“Ever since I was a 5-year-old and my dad took me on my first wade fishing trip I have been hooked, pardon the pun,” Rea said. “I started my kids off the very same way and they are addicts also. We, as the corporation’s board, have all agreed that not only are we going to fund the (Spraberry) Endowment in honor of our dear friend every year, but we are also going to help out with conservation in any way we can. This is what we thought would help the most."  

The Trophy Trout Tournament, which Rea and partners started in 2001, not only provides financial support to the GCRL but has also donated several large spotted seatrout specimens to the lab over the years to assist with its research studies on the popular coastal sport fish. 

“These partnerships with the local fishing community are vital for a better understanding of our fishery stocks and provide an important outlet for us as researchers to acquire biological samples,” Hendon said. “John’s generous donation will help support student involvement in our research activities so we can continue to educate and train the next generation of fishery scientists.”

The mission of the Gulf Coast Research, Mississippi's marine laboratory, is scientific discovery related to coastal and marine resources, development of new marine technologies, and the education of future scientists and citizens.

For more information about GCRL, call 228.872.4200 or visit: http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/