Approximately $30,000 was raised for the organization's coffers. Those funds will not only help pay the small internet and marketing fees needed right now to keep their website going, but will go toward research as well.
Tom and Jennifer McLaughlin, two of Save the Tarpon’s most integral organizers, have been running on a shoestring budget for quite some time. The community of Boca Grande and beyond rallied, though, to make the event worthwhile and memorable. A fish and chowder cook-off (Ronica Davis was deemed the winner), T-shirt sales and a live and silent auction were some of the ways STT raised money on Sunday.
Several people who feel strongly about the organization’s cause spoke on Sunday. One was Lew Hastings, executive director of the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce. His words mirrored the thoughts of many in the crowd.
“This is not about a fish,” he said. “There are millions of fish and species that deserve their day in the sun. That deserve attention. That deserve respect. This is about an ecosystem, Our ecosystem. Their ecosystem. And what is unique to our area. And the role we play in the entirety of the tarpon life cycle and its effect around the world. This is not about any one man, woman or group. There are plenty of people who think they know what is best for the environment. But some are really only concerned for themselves ... they like to hear themselves talk. They talk a big game but when it comes to actually doing something, they really don’t deliver."
“Community is what matters. Community working together. Grassroots up is powerful. When the community says, like ours has, enough is enough. We will no longer tolerate the abuse of our natural resources and the misrepresentation of our community. Someone – everyone HAS to listen. And that is what is happening today.”
Tom McLaughlin was overwhelmed with the community’s response to Sunday’s event.
“This means so much to me and all of us at Save the Tarpon,” he said. “This is a community event. It isn’t about a bunch of fishermen who are angry about someone coming down and fishing their hole, it’s not about privatizing the Pass. It’s about taking it back for the good of the community and the good of people everywhere. “To us, this is the perfect place, and we want to keep it that way. This is about giving us the opportunity to showcase Boca Grande to the world.”
There are several ways to donate to Save the Tarpon. Go to their web site, savethetarpon.com, to find out more.
Save the Tarpon will also be at the Blue and Green Bash at Cape Haze Marina on Monday, March 11 at 5 p.m. along with representatives from the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament committee. Call 698-1100 for more information.
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