June 24, 21

June 24, 2021
By Dr. Leona Onderdonk Rowan
Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Claire McCarron, President of the Rotary Club of Mobile, at 12:15 p.m.
Invocation: Douglas Kearley offered the invocation.
Pledge and Welcome: Tommy Blankenship led the members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and welcomed members’ guests.
Student Guests: Julie Otts introduced the 2021 scholarship winners: Daisy Ferrell from Blount High School and Willoughby Hardesty from Saraland High School.
New Member: Bob Chappelle introduced new member Eliska Morgan.
Announcements: Claire reminded everyone there will be no meeting next week in observance of the Fourth of July holiday. Also, she announced that the passing of the gavel ceremony will be held on July 8th and lunch buffet service will resume on that date. Finally, Claire announced the Tarpon Tournament is set for August 7th. .
Program: Matt Head introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Sean P. Powers, Senior Marine Scientist III at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Professor and Chair of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama. Dr. Powers earned his bachelor’s degree at Loyola and his master’s degree from the University of New Orleans. He later moved to Texas where he earned his Ph.D. in biology and oceanography from Texas A&M University. In 2003, he began his work at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and joined the faculty at the University of South Alabama.
Sean’s presentation was entitled “The Great Snapper Count”. He began his remarks by explaining that there are currently seven faculty conducting research at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Their research is global in nature and has a broad impact on marine science. The Sea Lab is awarded $4 to $5 million in grants each year. They have researched the local economic impact of red snapper and determined that approximately 1/3 of America’s recreational fishing occurs in Alabama.
Red snapper spend their lives off shore in coastal oceans and they reproduce rapidly and can live for many years. They are greatly dependent on reefs for protection and food. There are about 6.8 million pounds of red snapper living on artificial reefs. Roughly 1.2 million pounds of red snapper are harvested by recreational fishermen each year.
The federal and state governments disagree with regard to the number of red snapper as well as the number harvested. Whereas Alabama scientists maintain 110 million red snapper are in the Gulf of Mexico (based on observation), the federal government reports there are only 33 million. In either case, there is a healthy population of red snapper in the Gulf. Most are caught when they are five years old and about 16 inches. The red snapper season and quotas are set by the federal government based on historical data on harvesting.
The public can assist the effort by building artificial reefs and urging community leaders to get involved. Above all, Dr. Powers encouraged everyone to “support your local scientists”.
After questions from the floor were answered, Claire thanked Sean for speaking to our club and presented him a certificate noting that a donation has been made in his honor to the “Reach Out and Read” literacy initiative.
Closing Remarks and Adjournment: Claire announced member birthdays and reminded everyone that there is no meeting next week, but that the passing of the gavel ceremony will take place on July 8th. Claire adjourned the meeting at approximately 12:50 p.m.