BY MARCY SHORTUSE - On Wednesday, Jan. 9 it will be official: Mote Marine Laboratory will open its new facility in Boca Grande.
The ribbon cutting and open house will be held at 2 p.m. at 480 E. Railroad Ave., Unit 7. A reception will follow.
The facility will be directed by Capt. Phil O’Bannon, a resident of the island who has been a fishing captain for 40 years. Another island resident, Andy Ireland, who is an honorary Mote trustee, is one of the great minds behind the project.
Phil said he is very excited to be a part of the new Mote venture in Boca Grande. He explained how he got involved.
“I went up two years ago to the Teddy Roosevelt Foundation Summit at Mote,” he said. “That really got me interested. Then, last year, Mote came down to the Gasparilla Inn to do a lecture and Andy and I were talking about getting an office down here. I really wanted to do it, because after guiding all this time I wanted to see if we could make things better and protect the estuaries. I think it might also allow residents here to have some effect on the decisions made about the local fishery.”
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