Florida Sea Grant Extension Program

2014 is going to be a busy year for the people involved with Florida Sea Grant extension program.

In addition to monitoring existing artificial reefs, they're working to create new reefs, restore oyster beds and work to control invasive lion fish.

The reefs will include two local icons, the retired air force jets that used to be at the Panama City marina and the Gulf Coast State College campus.

"We have to go out there and do some more sight monitoring, just to make sure the conditions are right and we comply with legal requirements in order to go out there and drop these reefs," said Fara Ilami, Florida Sea Grant Agent.

The program will also focus on controlling lion fish which can cause a lot of damage to the ecosystem, in addition to being harmful to humans.

"There was one lion fish that was found with 61 other fish in its gut context. and these fish were all at the same decay rate, which that means that the lion fish ate all of those about the same time. You can imagine the decimation that causes to the rest of our fisheries," said llami.

One of the most important project may be the restoration of the area's oyster beds, which have all but disappeared from Franklin County and other local waters.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded the oyster reef restoration project 75-thousand dollars.

They'll be recruiting volunteers for the work beginning next month.

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