Creators of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival and Organizers of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament have announced plans to strengthen and share their commitment to conservation by cross-promoting their common missions and messages to the general public, press and media.
The Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival takes place in Punta Gorda’s downtown waterfront at Laishley Crab House at Laishley Park May 4 through 6, followed by the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament in Boca Grande May 17 and 18, and the Downtown Tarpon Festival, to be held on May 19 and 20.
Both all-release tournaments feature high-stakes competitions that also place an emphasis on best practices when it comes to the post-release welfare of their respective target species; sharks and tarpon.
USC Creators, Sean and Brooks Paxton said, “We’re extremely fortunate to have this uniquely diverse environmental playground right here in our backyard. The area offers so many choices for not only boaters and recreational anglers, but anyone interested in an endless list of eco and adventure-based activities on land and sea.”
Lew Hastings, Executive Director at the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce and Tournament Director of the WRTT explained, “My goal is to strengthen and promote the financial growth and well being of the local businesses in order to sustain a healthy community. We see the constant threat of damage and destruction to the natural beauty and wildlife habitats that surround us and recognize that they can not and should not be looked upon as a cost of doing business. Exploitation of natural resources in the name of progress and financial gain leaves us all a great deal poorer in the end. The significant economic and environmental impact recreational fishing has on our communities, makes conservation for a sustainable fishery not only preferable but necessary. Education and conservation of the fishery combined with sport fishing will be the primary focus.”
View More images >>The newest addition to Tarpon Week will be Carroll Swayze’s First Annual Boca Grande Invitational Art Festival, presented by The Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce on May 19 and 20. The hours of the show will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Carroll Swayze, a local artist and the director of the show, said, "I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of Tarpon Week. The community of Boca Grande has always been very supportive of the arts and I can’t wait for this exhibit to open on the island. I have spent countless hours attending gallery shows and festivals all over the country looking for incredible artists to invite to the island. I tried to choose the artists thinking of both the island’s tropical beauty as well as the week’s fishing theme. I have included space for both local island artists and also for artists from the Boca Grande Art Alliance."
The Mote Mobile Aquarium, sponsored by the Boca Grande Women’s Club, will also be at the downtown festival. The Mote Mobile Aquarium features a 1,200-gallon exhibit that includes tropical and subtropical fish species. Visitors will have the chance to hold live animals including starfish, sea urchins, horseshoe crabs and marine snails.
On May 19, the 2nd Annual Gasparilla Island Kids Classic Fishing Tournament will take place and on Sunday, May 20, the ever-popular Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament will fill the waters around the island.
The Kids’ Classic field of boats is full, but call the Chamber at 964-0568 to enter the Ladies Day field. For More Information on the Ultimate Shark Challenge, go to ultimatesharkchallenge.com. You can also call 416-1788 or 416-5073.
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