In January 2018, Charleston experienced the 5th largest fish kill in South Carolina history. After weeks of record cold temperatures decimated the speckled sea trout population, a small group of conservation minded individuals decided to take action.
The Community Professional Response Initiative, or CPR Initiative for short, is a conglomeration of business owners that care about our natural resources and whose businesses are directly affected by the health of our ecosystem. The CPR Initiative was created to provide an organized response to critical issues that impact the Lowcountry. In February of 2018, they released this mission statement:
The mission of the Community and Professional Response Initiative (CPR Initiative) Fund is to provide support for organizations with programs and services focused on the protection, preservation, and sustainability of the diverse saltwater estuaries and ecosystems in and surrounding the South Carolina coastal regions.
The CPR Initiative’s first undertaking was Project ReSpeck, which successfully raised $25,000 to help mitigate the gruesome fish kill that struck Charleston and the surrounding coastline in the first weeks of 2018. In addition to monetary contributions, each member donated time and resources to promoting the campaign and raising conservation awareness in the community. The money is designated to purchase speckled sea trout breeding tanks for the Wadell Mariculture Center in Bluffton, which can supplement the wild breeding population with 600,000 – 700,000 fish annually. The check was awarded at the recent Coastal Conservation Association’s “Celebrating Conservation” Banquet, held at Shimano Headquarters in Ladson, SC.
Although the next project for the CPR Initiative is currently to be determined, it is clear that when Charleston’s natural resources are in jeopardy we know there is a community of anglers that will stand behind it.