Despite the unseasonally cold and damp un-Florida weather, you turned out in big numbers Sunday, March 3 in Boca Grande to make Save The Tarpon’s “Shindig” party a success.
You also made history. The energy you generated Sunday has provided the support, the resources and the tools that will clearly be needed in the weeks and months to come as we move forward together to put a permanent end to tarpon gaff and drag, to give Boca Grande Pass back to Florida’s fishing public and to protect and grow our storied fishery.
Although the bean counters continue to add up the numbers, a preliminary tally shows Sunday’s event in Boca Grande raised nearly $30,000 that will be used to make our (now) 15,000-plus voices heard in Boca Grande Pass, in Tallahassee, in the nation’s corporate board rooms and the world beyond.
The progress we’ve made together in just eight short months has astonished those who stand with us as well as those who once stood against us. Our focus is, and will continue to be, on those who continue to block the way forward. These accomplishments have been hard won. And despite our successes – your successes – we all know it’s a fight that’s just begun. But it’s one we’re now, thanks to you, better positioned to win.
Your boycott of the handful of brands that continue to support the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series, an effort that has already claimed Skeeter Boats, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Tires Plus Total Car Care and others, is now poised to move forward in earnest. We will be taking your fight to the very doorsteps of companies like Miller/Coors, Yamaha Marine Group, Sea Hunt Boats, Reactor Watches, Continental Trailers, Miller’s Ale House and Johnson Outdoors. Make no mistake, your voice will now be heard.
The message you will be carrying to the regulators in Tallahassee will be uncompromising and clear. Gaff, drag and weigh – whether for the entertainment of a television audience or a record book thrill kill – is a relic that must and will be ended in Boca Grande Pass. True sportsmen, and those entrusted with protecting this resource, know you don’t grow a fishery by slaughtering the fish. Your voice will now be heard.
You have said there must be no misunderstanding. Florida’s laws demand vessels be operated on our waters in a safe manner. Law enforcement will be tasked with bringing under control the “controlled chaos” the PTTS has brought to Boca Grande Pass. And you will do the tasking. Your voice will now be heard.
You have told us you are no longer willing to allow the hijacking of our fishery to continue. It ends today. Your voice will now be heard.
Thanks to your support – on March 3 and the days, weeks and months to come – we look forward to taking this fight to the next level. You did it. You’re doing it. You’re making it happen. Your voice will now be heard.