An open letter to PTTS sponsors – and an invitation

For the past month or so, Save The Tarpon has been profiling companies that have attached their brand to the controversial Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. It’s an awareness campaign. Our members and supporters, more than 12,000 of them, have responded by contacting PTTS sponsors through Facebook, email and by phone.

Two companies have been profiled to date. Both have discontinued their sponsorship of the event. More PTTS sponsors will be profiled in the coming weeks and months. This is in addition to our ongoing boycott effort. And yes, you are on the list.

preserve-and-protect.jpgWe’ve discovered something interesting along the way. PTTS sponsors who have reached out to us have been largely unaware that they’ve been promoting this event. Others viewed the PTTS as “just another fishing show.” Many have since taken a closer look. It’s fair to say they aren’t happy about what they’ve seen and what they’ve learned.

Save The Tarpon has made education a priority since its formation in June, 2012. We have targeted our message of conservation, preservation and respect for the tarpon fishery to the public, anglers, sportsmen, politicians and, of course, the corporate community. Our “Do The WRITE Thing” effort was designed to help spread this message to companies like yours which, we truly believe, made a well-intentioned but poorly vetted sponsorship decision.

When Save The Tarpon was launched this past summer – and yes, our organization is less than a year old – overtures were made to the principals of the PTTS. We asked the tournament to consider ending the practice we call “gaff and drag” and follow the lead of similar events by adopting a true catch and release format that research has shown dramatically increases survival. We asked the PTTS to crack down on the reckless boat handling methods of its participants, what the PTTS proudly touts as “organized chaos.” We asked the PTTS to take measures to assure the fishing public would once again have unfettered access to Boca Grande Pass at all times.

The PTTS refused. “Refused” is a polite way of describing the tournament’s response. Back then, Save The Tarpon boasted fewer than 100 members and supporters. The PTTS, on the other hand, boasted corporate backing from some of the biggest players on the planet. The combined clout of companies much like yours allowed PTTS television host Joe Mercurio, speaking on your behalf, to go on the record and publicly state “we’ll stop when someone tells us to stop.”

As you can see, Save The Tarpon’s message is now being carried around the world by our nearly 11,000 followers on Facebook alone. Thousands more, including some of the most respected names in sport fishing and conservation, have committed to our efforts via the online petition you’ll find here at SaveTheTarpon.com. “Someone,” clearly, is telling the PTTS it’s time to stop. The list now includes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

When Tires Plus Total Car Care’s decision to drop its PTTS sponsorship was announced by Save The Tarpon on Facebook, the move was welcomed by our followers on this popular social media platform. Many also wondered “who’s next?” Fair question.

After Costa del Mar Sunglasses withdrew its support of the PTTS last month, and as word spread that Tires Plus was eyeing a strategic exit, Save The Tarpon has been in contact with a number of PTTS sponsors. These discussions have been both productive and positive. We fully grasp the complexity of corporate sponsorship agreements, and that it often takes more than a quick phone call to bail out of what many companies have now come to understand wasn’t the best business decision.

These conversations have prompted us to put a number of planned “sponsor profiles” and “Do The WRITE Thing” efforts on hold – including one that had been scheduled for publication within the next week. Although talks are continuing, these sponsors will remain on Save The Tarpon’s boycott list until a determination is announced.

We are also inviting the handful of PTTS sponsors who have yet to open the lines of communication with Save The Tarpon to take this moment to join the discussion. We’ll be happy to answer whatever questions you might have. And while holding off for a week or so might not be a popular move among some of our supporters, we’re prepared to take this step as a sign of our willingness to find a way to work together in a positive direction.

Feel free to send off an email addressed to contact@savethetarpon.com. Let us know who to reach out to and when. And, of course, how. We understand you aren’t the bad guys here. Our experience tells us you’re likely caught in the middle. We’re here to help. We promise to listen to your concerns. We also promise, of course, to share a few of our own to assist you in making an informed decision to, if we can paraphrase ourselves, “Do The RIGHT Thing.”

 

 

 

You did it! Tires Plus pulls the plug on the PTTS

Rodney Taucher, PTTS co-owner

Rodney Taucher, PTTS co-owner, stepped in a lot more than he figured when he struck a pose while stepping on a dead PTTS tarpon. Publication of the photo, along with your calls and emails, prompted Tires Plus to become the latest company to drop its PTTS sponsorship. Taucher was wearing a Tires Plus tee shirt in the original photo,

Tires Plus Total Car Care Inc.,  through its parent company Bridgestone/Firestone, has confirmed it is withdrawing its sponsorship of the 2013 Professional Tarpon Tournament Series as a result of efforts by Save The Tarpon’s more than 12,000 members and supporters worldwide.

“Tires Plus is not a 2013 PTTS sponsor,” according to Susan Steino, manager of public relations for Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC., which purchased the Clearwater-based tire and auto service chain in 2000.

Tires Plus had sponsored the controversial PTTS “Tires Plus Release Team,” which had become better known as the “Tires Plus Drag and Dump Crew” for its documented practice of dragging near-dead tarpon to the deepest part of Boca Grande Pass and dumping them. According to statements made on air by PTTS host Joe Mercurio, the team’s alleged purpose was to “revive” the fish.

Steino had earlier said Bridgestone was unaware its subsidiary was sponsoring the controversial tarpon tournament until the company began receiving phone calls and emails from Save The Tarpon supporters. Tires Plus was profiled January 21 as a PTTS sponsor.

Tires Plus is the second PTTS sponsor and the second Florida-based company to be “targeted” by Save The Tarpon’s “Do The Write Thing” awareness effort. The first, Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc., withdrew its PTTS sponsorship earlier last month in the wake of publication of a similar sponsor profile. Both former PTTS sponsors were part of a broader Save The Tarpon boycott campaign. Both have been removed from the list as a result of their decision to sever ties with the PTTS.

Boycott Tires Plus - Total Car CareTires Plus said a photo of a PTTS official wearing a company tee shirt while posing with his foot resting on a dead PTTS tarpon, along with other photographs and video at SaveTheTarpon.com and on Facebook showing roped tarpon being towed into the Pass by boats bearing the Tires Plus brand, hastened the company’s decision to become the latest sponsor to bolt the televised fishing tournament.

Daytona Beach-based Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc., a subsidiary of the A. T. Cross Company, was spotlighted by SaveTheTarpon.com in an online sponsor profile on December 28, 2012. Costa notified Save The Tarpon Inc. on January 13, 2013 that it, too, was cutting the sponsorship cord to the PTTS. Costa was subsequently removed from the Save The Tarpon boycott list. It has since received dozens of messages via Facebook alone praising the former PTTS sponsor for its prompt decision to end its affiliation with the tournament.

On February 4 the PTTS cited what Mercurio called “the persistent challenging economic operating environment” when it broke the news it was cancelling all but one of its women’s tournaments slated for 2013. The decision to abandon the women’s events came in the aftermath of Costa’s withdrawal and eight days prior to Tires Plus official announcement it was pulling the sponsorship plug. Sarasota-based Andros Boatworks ended its PTTS affiliation in June.

Save The Tarpon’s supporters reacted quickly and positively to news of Tires Plus Total Car Care’s decision to end its PTTS sponsorship. The company’s withdrawal was first announced to Save The Tarpon’s more than 10,600 followers on Facebook.

“This is where I will buy tires from here on!” Gregg Rodier wrote, just one of dozens of comments posted to the page. All echoed a similar theme. From Don Gable: “Thanks Tire Plus! Great move to preserve a great treasure!” Ditto Shane Sovan: “Way to make the right call!” And Vicki Lapple Hensley added: “Good going, now I might shop there again.” Save The Tarpon supporters have also posted comments praising the company’s decision on the Tires Plus Facebook page.

Facebook follower Ryan Hawks proclaimed “Victory!” and was among many who asked “Who’s next?” Stay tuned, Ryan. Stay tuned.

 

Boycott Tires Plus Total Car Care

Boycott Tires Plus - Total Car Care(UPDATE: You did it! Tires Plus Total Car Care has announced it is ending its sponsorship of the PTTS. See related story.)

Tires Plus Total Car Care is a high-profile Professional Tarpon Tournament Series sponsor. Its brand is associated with the tournament’s so-called “Tires Plus Release Team,” also known as the “Tires Plus Drag and Dump Crew” for its documented practice of dragging near-dead tarpon into the deepest part of the Pass and dumping them. In PTTS-speak, this is known as “reviving.” We tend to call it something else: Surgery.

Tires Plus Total Car Care, according to its website, was founded in 1972. Other sources put the date at 1976. In 2000, Tires Plus was sold to Bridgestone/Firestone by founder Tom Gegax. According to the company’s website, Tires Plus is based in Clearwater. Gegax serves as chairman emeritus.

Boycott Tires PlusUnder Gegax, the Tires Plus motto was “Changing the World One Tire at a Time.” This has, apparently, now been updated to “Wiping Out a Species One Tarpon at a Time.” Sponsorship of the PTTS isn’t entirely consistent with Gegax’s most recent interests, however. The former self-described Tires Plus “head coach” is actively involved through his family foundation in a number of conservation causes. Most notably, the Waterkeeper Alliance, a significant player in the aftermath of the April 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

He is also closely associated with John Robbins, founder of EarthSave, an international non-profit organization. Its stated mission is to raise awareness of “ecological destruction and cruelty.” The PTTS doesn’t quite fit the profile on this one. Mr. Gegax is no longer involved in the day-to-day operation of the company he founded. But his voice still carries substantial influence. He is likely unaware of Tires Plus Total Car Care’s association with the PTTS, and that this association clearly contradicts his otherwise pro-conservation efforts.

This is where your role as educator comes into play. We have every reason to believe Mr. Gegax would be more than a bit distressed to learn of his company’s substantial involvement with an operation like the PTTS. Once he is alerted to the tournament’s history and what the PTTS is doing in his company’s name, it’s a pretty good bet somebody’s phone is going to ring.

Tires Plus Drag And Dump Crew

Keep this in mind should you choose to reach out to Mr. Gegax. Contacting him, however, could be problematic. His Detroit-based Gegax Family Foundation is operated through U.S. Trust. There is no way to directly contact him through his foundation.

Mr. Gegax does, however, apparently have an email address through Tires Plus. It is tomg@tiresplus.com. No guarantees, but it’s certainly worth trying. If you do reach out to him by email, it’s important to remember he is most likely unaware of the PTTS and his company’s involvement. Accordingly, you may wish to provide a link to SaveTheTarpon.com in your correspondence after briefly stating your reason for writing.

Tires Plus Total Car Care can and should be contacted through its website or, if you wish, by phone. Tires Plus Total Car Care Consumer Affairs can be reached at (800) 440-4167. The company can be contacted online (check the box marked “General Comments and Questions) here: http://www.tiresplus.com/contact/.  Another option would be to leave a message on the Tires Plus Facebook Page.

Boycott Tires Plus

Introducing: PTTS Co-Owner, Rodney Taucher

As the adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  This one? Well, it makes us speechless.

Enter Rodney Taucher.

Rodney Taucher - Budget Heating & Air

PTTS Managing Member Rodney Taucher chuckles as he steps on a dead tarpon DNA connected to the PTTS.

For those of you who have not been properly introduced, Rodney Taucher is the newest partner of Silver King Entertainment, LLC, the company responsible for bringing us the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS).

Here is a statement from Joe Mercurio, tournament VP and Manager, dated December 29, 2011:

“In order to properly manage the growth of our organization we needed to grow our staff. For the past 3 years Rodney Taucher has assisted us in organizing our registration process and developing our statistic tracking programs. Rodney’s extensive knowledge of online media, computer programming, and his business organization skills has helped us get better. It’s for these reasons that we have invited Rodney to become an equal partner with the Ingman family and Joe Mercurio. This new partnership should strengthen the corporation and allow for future expansion.”

Rodney Taucher, Owner, Budget Heating & Air

Owner of the PTTS and BudgetHeating.com (Budget Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.)

In addition to his co-ownership of the PTTS, Rodney also owns Budget Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. (BudgetAir.com), a PTTS team sponsor. You can find them on our boycott list.

So now that you’ve been introduced, lets get back to this heart-warming photo showing a jovial Rodney Taucher, co-owner of the PTTS, carelessly propping his foot upon a dead Silver King on the shore of Boca Grande. Oh yea, and sporting his official PTTS Tires Plus Release Team jersey no less.

At the time this photo was taken, Week #2 of the PTTS was underway. It was May 27, 2012 and the Women’s Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (WPTTS) had just taken place the previous day.  This tarpon was found floating in Boca Grande Pass by a FIT researcher who towed it to the beach to retrieve the eyes for her tarpon retinal research.  She submitted a scale to FWRI for the DNA sample.  Months later, the DNA results were released and linked this dead tarpon to Capt. Troy Sapp of Team Yamaha.  The tarpon had been caught during Week #2 of the WPTTS by Team Yamaha having been unnecessarily gaffed, dragged, hoisted from the water, dragged again and killed for the sake of TV face time for the high profile team sponsor.

As the researcher was taking her samples, a young boy walked up, drawn by the opportunity to see this magnificent fish close-up. He was distraught and actually wept at the sight of this 50 or 60 year old animal lost forever.  Yet, Rodney Taucher, PTTS co-owner, felt it was appropriate to use it as a foot stool.  This telling reaction further solidifies what those local to the Boca Grande area have known about PTTS owners and management  for a long while.

Capt Troy Sapp's Dead Tarpon

A young boy weeps at the sight of a dead tarpon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do The ‘Write’ Thing: Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc.

UPDATE 1/13/2013: Costa del Mar has announced they will no longer be sponsoring the PTTS.  Thank you Costa! And to everyone who spent the time to share your feelings with Save the Tarpon and Costa, congratulations, your voice was heard!

Save The Tarpon is asking your help to Do The ‘Write’ Thing by reaching out to those who sponsor and advertise with the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. These companies care about their image and the integrity of their brand. And they really do want to hear from their current and future customers on issues that impact their business and, of course, their bottom line. Who are these companies? Meet Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc., PTTS sponsor. At the end of this post we’ll show you a few ways you can Do The ‘Write’ Thing by contacting Costa Del Mar to make your voice, combined with those of 12,000 others, heard. 

Costa del Mar SunglassesAbout Costa Del Mar:
Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc. is a Florida company based in Daytona Beach. It designs and manufactures high-end polarized sunglasses, as well as apparel and accessories tailored to the angling, sailing and surfing public. Its products are sold online and through 5,000 retailers nationwide. Costa was founded in 1983. On April 22, 2003, the A. T. Cross Company (think Cross Pens) purchased Costa Del Mar Sunglasses. Cross is headquartered in Lincoln, Rhode Island. It is listed on Nasdaq as ATX. The stock’s price per share hovers in the $11 range. It should be noted that publicly traded companies do tend to listen when their shareholders have something to say.

Costa is a high-profile sponsor of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. Along with its parent company, it is also very PR conscious. Costa prides itself on its Florida roots and its reputation for being a responsible and responsive corporate citizen. On its website, the company notes “We’re a big believer in grassroots initiatives.” It doesn’t get more “grassroots” than Save The Tarpon. In the case of the PTTS, it appears Costa Del Mar – which sponsors a number of fishing tournaments and events – made a poorly vetted choice that is inconsistent with the company’s pro-conservation traditions and its long history of supporting causes that include the Cousteau Society and the Bonefish Tarpon Trust.

Costa Del Mar’s CEO is Charles R. “Chas” MacDonald, 58, whose title is President, Cross Optical Group. It is unclear whether Mr. MacDonald is based in Florida or Rhode Island. But he calls the shots at Costa. Correspondence through the Costa website (see links below) can properly be addressed to him.

Contacting Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc.:
Reasonable but firm is probably the best way to approach Costa Del Mar Sunglasses. If you are a Cross shareholder, say so. If you are a Costa customer, say so. At $89 to $290 a pop, Costa products aren’t an impulse buy. The company shares the ultra competitive high-end optical market with brands such as Maui Jim, Oakley, Revo, Bolle, Smith Optics, Ray-Ban and Kaenon.

As a consumer, you have many choices. Letting Costa know that you, a valued customer, know these other choices exist is important. Letting Costa know that you, a valued customer, know these other choices aren’t pumping their promotional dollars into the PTTS is equally important. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt to mention if you, a valued customer, are considering a purchase of a new pair of high-end sunglasses sometime between now and May, 2013. It is, of course, unfortunate that Costa – as a PTTS sponsor – likely won’t be on your list.

As already noted, Costa Del Mar is responsive. This is reflected in the amount of contact information provided on the company’s website. You can give Costa a call, use the provided online comment form, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, shoot off a fax or sit down and write them an old-fashioned letter. As always, please provide your name, address and all other requested information.

Company Address:
Charles R. MacDonald
Cross Optical Group
c/o Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc.
2361 Mason Avenue, Suite 100
Daytona Beach, FL 32117

Company Phone and Fax:
(800) 447-3700 Toll Free
(386) 274-4001 Fax
Note: If you phone, ask to speak to someone in Public Relations. These are the people who are paid to listen. If you fax, include “ATTN: Public Relations.” If you opt to give Costa a call, you might still wish to use some or all of the other available resources. HINT: Don’t expect the voice on the phone to do a whole lot more than listen and ask a few questions. The decisions are made by the decision makers upstairs. Be friendly, polite and to the point. Keep it simple. You are a current or potential Costa customer and as such, you have some strong concerns about an event the company sponsors. Let them take it from there. Odds are good they will. If the person you’re speaking with is already aware of the situation with the PTTS, request a statement on the company’s position and ask to add your name and voice to the list of concerned callers.

Online:
Costa provides an online contact form. Under “Subject,” please select “Public Relations” from the drop-down menu. You will be asked to provide a first and last name, email address, phone number and physical address. These fields are followed by a box for your comments. Speak your mind. Then click “Submit” and you’re done.

Again, the contact form can be found here.

Facebook:
Stop by the company’s Facebook page and give Costa a “like.” Then mention you’ve sent off a message concerning the PTTS. You can also add a link to http://www.savethetarpon.com or http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheTarpon

Twitter:
A Tweet to Costa would be equally sweet. Same deal as Facebook.

Other Options:
You may also wish to share your concerns with your local Costa Del Mar retailer. A list of Costa dealers in your area can be found here. Just enter your ZIP code into the box provided on the page.

*It’s probably useful to note that Costa Del Mar might seek to explain that it has a contractual obligation with the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series and that its hands are, essentially, tied. This isn’t entirely correct. Most promotional contracts contain a stated or implied “morals clause.” This provision holds the PTTS to certain behavioral standards designed to prevent the tournament from bringing disrepute, contempt or scandal to a sponsor. You may wish to invite Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc. to review the extensive collection of material found on SaveTheTarpon.com to make its own determination on this question.

Then what?
You might get a phone call or an email requesting additional information. Tell your own story in your own words. Point Costa towards savethetarpon.com and the Facebook page with its more than 8,500 followers. But be sincere (we know you are) and be yourself. And thanks for taking the time to Do The ‘Write’ Thing by lending a hand and your voice to this very important cause.

If you Do The ‘Write’ Thing and receive feedback from Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc., let us know how it went. Feel free to Do The ‘Write’ Thing with us by shooting off a message to Save The Tarpon.

Boycott Ingman Marine

Gary Ingman is owner and President of Ingman Marine, a boat dealership in Sarasota, Placida and Port Charlotte, Florida. Gary Ingman is also owner of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS).  This made-for-TV fishing tournament series is considered highly unethical and unsportsmanlike by Save the Tarpon, Inc and our 17,000 supporters world-wide.

It is because of this, Save the Tarpon asks for your support in boycotting the services and products offered by Ingman Marine.

The PTTS is owned and operated by the Tarpon Anglers Club, a for profit LLC registered in the State of Florida.  Here are the current State records available on sunbiz.org.

TARPON ANGLERS CLUB, LLC

Registered Agent Name & Address
GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953 US

Manager/Member Details

GARY INGMAN (President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

MIZE, GARY (Vice President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

The PTTS (Professional Tarpon Tournament Series) Television Show is owned and operated by SILVER KING ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.  Here is the info from sunbiz.org as well:

SILVER KING ENTERTAINMENT, LLC

Registered Agent Name & Address

GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

USManager/Member Detail

GARY INGMAN, Title MGRM
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
JOSEPH MERCURIO
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
RODNEY TAUCHER
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
VICKIE MIZE
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Worried about where to get your Yamaha serviced?  Well, Yamaha is also on our boycott list as they are a major sponsor of the PTTS.  However, for local outboard service try The Boat House on Placida Road or Abels Marine on Gasparilla Road.

Another helpful tactic would be to contact Grady-White Boats (Ingman Marine is an exclusive dealer of this boat manufacturer) and let them know you will not support Ingman Marine or their products because of their destructive attitude towards the Boca Grande Tarpon fishery and local environment.  Their contact information is as follows:

Grady-White Boats Inc 5121 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy, Greenville, NC 27834 (252) 752-2111 ‎ gradywhite.com

Or email them at custserv@gradywhite.com .

Eddie Smith, Jr., CEO of Grady-White Boats has this posted on the company’s website:

“Dedication to Fisheries Resources and Coastal Environment
Eddie Smith has led Grady-White to be recognized as the boating industry’s leader in recreational fishing and coastal environment issues. Eddie himself has been recognized for lifetime achievement by the American Sportfishing Association, and has also been honored by the International Game Fish Association and many others for his commitment. Many of the managers and other employees at Grady-White are similarly dedicated to the long-term health of fisheries and coastal areas. A Grady-White boat is truly a symbol of dedication to the best kind of future for our children, our fisheries and our waterways.”

PTTS Sponsors Wishing to be Removed From the Boycott/Protest list

Dear PTTS sponsors,

We have received many email inquiries from businesses wishing to “quietly walk away” who may or may not agree with our opinions or methods, but wish to remove themselves from the controversy.  Several have expressed the opinion they personally wish to remove their sponsorship, but have ongoing relationships with individuals and other businesses who may remain affiliated with the event, we respect this position entirely.

The boycott and protest campaigns organized and supported by Save the Tarpon, Inc are not meant to do damage to businesses. They are meant to express the free will of the consumer and show our displeasure with your business’s support of what we feel is a destructive and unethical event.  We are well aware of the potential damage that can be done by a protest, and in this respect we would not wish to continue to promote a boycott of any business that is not involved in the PTTS.

We have started a telephone and email campaign to notify businesses of this position and to allow them sufficient notice so that they may make a final decision about their affiliation with the PTTS.  This is not blackmail and there is no ultimatum stating that you must remove your sponsorship ‘or else.’  Through our contact with many sponsors, the opinion of most is that they have not been properly informed regarding the controversy surrounding the PTTS and its methods. This phone campaign is to help not only inform sponsors of our position, as stated by us, not by our detractors.  It also provides notice to the business so they have time to remove themselves from the list, as well as providing them the information below as to how they can be removed from the listing.

Our primary mission is to promote awareness of the damage being caused by PTTS to the Boca Grande Tarpon fishery, the community, and its heritage.  Many sponsors we have contacted are offended by our methods stating that they agree with our position (after reading some of our materials or actually taking the time to speak with us, to those who have we thank you graciously).  That being said, it takes only moments online to find numerous negative or controversial reports from many reputable sources in the media with regards to the PTTS.  Among them, you will not find a single in support of the event that does not come from someone with a vested interest in the event. Those businesses must also shoulder some of the blame, as much of this controversy has been known for years.

You may not agree with our methods, but we don’t think that any of those who have taken the time to contact us will say that we are irrational or untrustworthy.  We do hold 100% by our convictions, and out of fairness we do not show any favortism towards sponsors of the event.  Many of us have friends, acquaintances, business contacts, and even family participating in and supporting the PTTS.  This is not an attack on these individuals or on their personal businesses, but rather is an attack on the revenue stream of those profiting from the destruction of a natural resource that we all feel very passionately about.  The following requirements and stipulations will be upheld and enforced equally among all sponsors, no matter the size, relationship to members, etc.

Though some businesses chose to support our mission, others wish only to be free of the controversy.  We respect both positions equally.  We will take the time to outline a very simple process for removing yourself from the list:

  1. Notify us via email  (contact@savethetarpon.com Attn: Boycott) that you will not be participating in 2013.  You may give us a reason, tell us your are pleased with our mission, let us know how much you hate us, or say nothing. Believe it or not, we greatly value your constructive feedback.
  2. Let us know if you would like us to announce your removal publicly.  We will make no public mention of your removal from the tournament and will simply take you off the boycott/blacklist/protest list if you do not request us to make a statement.  Your email will remain 100% confidential providing that the business in question actually follows through with their removal from the 2013 event.  You are welcome to prepare a public statement separate from your email if you are so inclined. * No public statement is required.*
  3. We will keep all correspondence between your business and Save the Tarpon, Inc strictly confidential.  Those of you that have taken the time to speak with some of our members on the phone can attest to our ethics on this.

 

Sincerely,

SaveTheTarpon.com members

Andros Boatworks ends relationship with PTTS.

Andros Boatworks

Thank you for listening, Andros Boatworks!

Below please read a statement from Andrew Eggebrecht:

After close to 10 years of fishing the PTTS in Boca Grande we officially resign and will be focusing our efforts on the Worlds Richest “all release” tournament next year in Boca Grande. It was a good run, good times and people we’ve met in the process have been awesome. It’s been our competitive nature as a company and as a family to participate. Recent science is leading to the effects of this style of fishing being damaging to the tarpon. If you’re like me and Boca Grande has been a major part of you’re upbringing you’ll understand this position. I want my children to have the same chance to chase tarpon as I have. As a company with resources we can help keep a fishery safe if we believe in the science and follow proper fish handling in the future. There’s a big argument that many people killed these fish in the past for pictures and I agree it was wrong. No one is doing this now intentionally and we as anglers need to do our part to be responsible. I was proud to fish this series against some great folks and am proud to move on and try something different. Join us next year at the Worlds Richest Tarpon Tournament. If you’re fan of Andros, an owner or a competitor we encourage you to do what you can for our fishery. Compete with us in an event geared towards sportsmanship, education and conservation!

Andrew Eggebrecht
President, Andros Boatworks, Inc.

Andros Boatworks on Facebook

Peaceful Protest of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS)

Please join us for a peaceful protest of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS).

Where:  Gasparilla Island State Park (Boca Grande Lighthouse) at the South end of beach. Look for the PTTS weigh-in area.

When: Sunday, June 17th, 2012 at 9:30 AM

What to Bring: Yourself, your friends, banners and signs.  Please add SaveTheTarpon.com to your materials. Also, make sure you bring a few bucks for each person to pay entry to the park. Oh, and cameras to help document the event.

Parking: There may not be any parking left in the State Park lot, so plan accordingly.  Come by boat, bike, golf cart, hot air balloon…whatever it takes.

It is very important everyone stay calm and controlled to uphold the integrity of our cause. 

Email us if you have any further questions.

Important Links

Use the flyers and logos below to help spread the word.  The flyers are standard letter size so print some out and hang them around town.

Here is a link to the protest flyer.

Here is a link to the general Save the Tarpon flyer.

Here is a link to a high res image for a t-shirt or print material.

 

 

Who Owns the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) in Boca Grande Florida?

ingman marineThe Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) in Boca Grande Florida.

(Originally posted by On )

The gift of world-class Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande is a precious resource given to all of us to enjoy and be enriched by.  It is a gift we must all work together to preserve and respect.  However, some for-profit businesses have decided to make a fishing tournament designed to “enrich” their own pockets while unnecessarily compromising this resource for their own financial gain.  If you think the PTTS (Professional Tarpon Tournament Series) is cool, that’s because it has been cleverly designed to achieve this response.  It is through the emotional response triggered by “good TV” that you happily turn your money over to them in one way or another.  And every time they have an angler or professional guide defend their tactics or participate in their tarpon tournament,  they laugh all the way to the bank.  They are disrupting and damaging a fishery that doesn’t exclusively belong to them–it belongs to all of us and our children.

What’s wrong with a tarpon tournament in Boca Grande, you ask? Well, nothing. (Here’s a link to one of the conservation-minded tarpon tournaments.)  There are plenty of other Tarpon tournaments which pose no threat to the waterways or fishery.  However, the PTTS is not one of them.  It has purposely adopted unethical fishing practices to help facilitate higher TV ratings–fishing practices that have long been known to the angling community (and almost all other fishing tournaments) as outdated and unsportsmanlike.

The gaffing, dragging, weighing, and often subsequent death of the Tarpon are for nothing more than increased TV ratings and shows a blatant disregard for the fishery. By glorifying this damaging process on National television,  it also actively promotes the same contemptuous behavior to recreational anglers who use the TV show as a guide for how to fish for Tarpon in and around Boca Grande Pass.  Now, outside of the hours of the tournament, you are seeing recreational anglers, and even their fishing guides, dragging exhausted Tarpon to the beach for a photo op.  Additionally, the dangerous and disrespectful boat operations also promoted through the PTTS television show has created an entire group of individuals who try to emulate these behaviors upon their visit to Boca Grande.  This endangers the lives and livelihood of the residents and law-abiding citizens who also use Boca Grande Pass and its surrounding waters.

The PTTS is owned and operated by the Tarpon Anglers Club.  Again, don’t be fooled.  This is not a non-profit anglers club happily created to promote sportfishing. It is a for profit LLC registered in the State of Florida.  Here are the current State records available on sunbiz.org.

TARPON ANGLERS CLUB, LLC

Registered Agent Name & Address

GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953 US

Manager/Member Details

INGMAN, GARY (President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

MIZE, GARY (Vice President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

The PPTS (Professional Tarpon Tournament Series) Television Show is owned and operated by SILVER KING ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.  Here is the info from sunbiz.org as well:

Registered Agent Name & Address

GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953 US

Manager/Member Detail

Title MGRM
GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
JOSEPH MERCURIO
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
RODNEY TAUCHER
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
VICKIE MIZE
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

For many of the locals, you know Gary Ingman as owner and President of Ingman Marine, a boat dealership in Sarasota, Placida and Port Charlotte.  Many in support of ethical angling have directly asked Gary to change these harmful, unsportsmanlike, and outdated aspects of the tournament in regards to the handling of the Tarpon.  He has declined to make changes.  It is because of this I ask for your support in boycotting the services and products offered by Ingman Marine.  An alternate choice for Yamaha service is The Boat House on Placida Road. They are located only minutes from the Placida Road location of Ingman Marine.   I also personally recommend using Abels Marine on Gasparilla Road. They are also close-by and good local people who do solid work.  In fact, it is very likely both of these alternatives to Ingman Marine will save you money on any service performed to your boat.  Let them know why you are using them instead of Ingman Marine, and they may even show appreciation by offering a discount.

Another helpful tactic would be to contact Grady-White Boats (Ingman Marine is an exclusive dealer of this boat manufacturer) and let them know you will not support Ingman Marine or their products because of their destructive attitude towards the Boca Grande Tarpon fishery and local environment.  Their contact information is as follows:

Grady-White Boats Inc 5121 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy, Greenville, NC 27834 (252) 752-2111 ‎ gradywhite.com

Or email them at custserv@gradywhite.com .

Eddie Smith, Jr., CEO of Grady-White Boats has this posted on the company’s website:

“Dedication to Fisheries Resources and Coastal Environment
Eddie Smith has led Grady-White to be recognized as the boating industry’s leader in recreational fishing and coastal environment issues. Eddie himself has been recognized for lifetime achievement by the American Sportfishing Association, and has also been honored by the International Game Fish Association and many others for his commitment. Many of the managers and other employees at Grady-White are similarly dedicated to the long-term health of fisheries and coastal areas. A Grady-White boat is truly a symbol of dedication to the best kind of future for our children, our fisheries and our waterways.”