CCA AL $40,000 Donation to University of South Alabama School of Marine & Environmental Sciences

Posted on July 01, 2021

The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo and the Coastal Conservation Association Alabama each donated to the newly established School of Marine and Environmental Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Alabama during a reception on March 18.

A volunteer-led organization, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo was founded in 1929 by the Mobile Jaycees and has donated to the University and USA Health for more than two decades. Cory Quint served as President of the 87th ADSFR in 2020. Their $25,000 gift to the USA School of Marine and Environmental Sciences is the largest single donation the organization will make this year.

“South Alabama does a lot for the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, and we have a really good working relationship,” Quint said. “I’m a firm believer in conservation. There’s a reason why we’re about to put on our 88th tournament, and it’s because of the research and studies that organizations like South do and help get into regulation.”

Crystal Hightower is a senior research lab manager at the University of South Alabama. She said the donations from the ADSFR and CCA Alabama support graduate students by providing funding for equipment, field work, sample processing and travel expenses.

“These partnerships support students not only by direct funding, but also by providing sampling opportunities for students to study fishes collected by recreational anglers,” said Hightower. “These collaborations also allow USA students an avenue to share the importance of their research and eventually their scientific findings in an impactful way with the local fishing community.”

The Coastal Conservation Association Alabama donated a total of $40,000 to the School of Marine and Environmental Sciences. The gift will be split evenly between the graduate student support fund and a research project to tag Adult Red Drum off Coastal Alabama.

The Red Drum project will include the TAG Alabama recreational fish tagging program, acoustic tags and satellite tags of adult Red Drum. The TAG Alabama program is a partnership between the CCA Alabama, School of Marine and Environmental Sciences and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and gives CCA Alabama members the opportunity to participate in user-based data and research on adult Red Drum, Speckled Trout and Tarpon.

CCA Alabama Executive Director Blakeley Ellis said the research conducted by the School, led Dr. Sean Powers, lines up perfectly with the Association’s mission. “It’s really important that recreational fishing doesn’t slip through the cracks,” Ellis said. “Historically, research has been skewed towards commercial harvest and fisheries, and CCA Alabama wants to make sure that we can continue to have the best and the brightest researchers with the tools and equipment they need.”

“We are also really excited to see what type of graduate student projects can take advantage of our support to the Graduate Student Fund and to see what type of information we can gain as a result of the Red Drum Tagging project,” Ellis said.”

The College of Arts and Sciences School of Marine and Environmental Sciences, formerly the Department of Marine Sciences, was approved on March 12 by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education. South is the only four-year state university in Alabama that is near the Gulf of Mexico. Many of its marine science faculty members are also senior marine scientists at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, which offers marine programs for 23 public and private colleges

For more information about the School of Marine and Environmental Sciences at the University of South Alabama, visit