Veto list: Haircut coming for Jacksonville University shark research

shark fin on surface of ocean agains blue cloudy sky
It's nt a total loss for JU, however.

Gov. Ron DeSantis used the veto pen with a heavy hand in this year’s budget, and Jacksonville University was among the casualties.

A $7 million appropriation for the OCEARCH Mayport Research and Operations Center was among the Northeast Florida items on the veto list, though other money escaped the pen.

OCEARCH sought $4.5 million for planning, construction and more for the new facility to be located at Mayport in Jacksonville, along the St. Johns River. The remaining $2.5 million would have covered a new research vessel and a maintenance fund for data gathering, shark and marine mammal research, and marine mammal rescue.

Additionally, the vessel would use dock facilities leased to Jacksonville University through $6 million matching funds from Jacksonville.

“The facility will make Florida the global headquarters and leader in research and public policy by providing access to an unprecedented dataset to help manage the ocean and bring its recreational and commercial benefits back to abundance,” according to the spending request.

OCEARCH, through its partnership with Jacksonville University, facilitates research for Florida’s private colleges and universities. Mote Marine Lab, SeaWorld Orlando, Disney Orlando, Cape Canaveral Scientific and Ocean First Institute also have done research through OCEARCH at JU.

Florida institutions and the State of Florida would have benefited from the facility, according to the spending request.

Jacksonville University wanted the new complex to include buildings for public education and displays, public meetings, OCEARCH ship operations and dockage for its vessels. The facility was contemplated to house laboratory, data management and academic resource management to assist collaborative scientists and researchers in their efforts.


Renzo Downey and A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

Staff Reports


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