TRADE RALLIES TO RAISE $2.5 MILLION TO AID HURRICANE-HIT BAHAMAS
The tackle industry has united in raising a staggering $2.5 million in one month to support the Bahamas – a major fishery and angling destination – following the catastrophic devastation wreaked by Hurricane Dorian in September.
Bass Pro Shops founder and conservationist Johnny Morris has co-ordinated the ‘Anglers for the Bahamas’ campaign with a string of tackle companies offering their backing for initiatives to help in the relief effort.
Bass Pro Shops itself has pledged a minimum of $1 million to fund, split between essential supplies such as tents, cooking kits and food and a cash donation to Convoy of Hope, an international humanitarian relief organisation working in the region.
Meanwhile, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA), Yellow Dog Community and Conservation Foundation and Angling Trade magazine have banded together to help Abaco and Grand Bahama guides, fishing lodge employees and their families who lost literally everything in the hurricane.
The Double Haul for Dorian Relief Coalition – as it is known – is running an online auction for gear, travel packages and guided trips along with Dozens for Dorian, a clever fly-tying initiative with proceeds from fly sales adding to the fund.
AFFTA president Ben Bulis said: “The devastation in the Bahamas is absolutely tragic and will have a profound impact on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama for years to come. An impact that will be felt by the fly-fishing industry for years to come as well.
“These fisheries, and the communities that rely on them are so familiar to most of us that we almost consider them home waters. And that’s why it’s imperative that we step up as an industry and help our Bahamian fly-fishing brothers and sisters in this immense time of need.”
All funds will go to provide basic necessities to help these individuals and families survive for the near future, including food, clean water and clothing – to help them rebuild their lives for the long term. Money raised will not go to the repair or the rebuilding of lodges.
Others helping out include Pure Fishing, Navico Marine Electronics, Engel Cooolers, Sunglass Hut, Textron Tracker off-road vehicles, Leica, Feradyne Outdoors, American Fishing Tackle Company and countless others.
Another key contributor to the ‘Anglers for the Bahamas’ project is Tyson Foods., which has donated 125,000 servings of canned chicken worth $150,000, in honour of former chairman Don Tyson, a renowned angler and founder of the Billfish Foundation.
South Florida-based fishing apparel company Scales has strong ties to the islands and has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide financial assistance and has also donated products to clothe and protect survivors while all proceeds of its Bahamas Collection products will be going to relief efforts.
Conservationist Johnny Morris revealed: “All of us at Bass Pro Shops are heartbroken by the devastation in the Bahamas, which hold a special place in the hearts of all anglers. We understand anglers and many others may feel the same way and want to help but simply don’t know where to start. This was our inspiration to create ‘Anglers for the Bahamas’.
“Beyond our pledge of financial support, we feel we can play a far greater role in supporting the Bahamas and its wonderful people by uniting anglers with an efficient and highly respected relief organisation, Convoy of Hope.”
Bass Pro has also directly appealed to its database of over 200 million outdoor enthusiasts, vendors and industry partners to donate while their and Cabela’s customers can round up their purchases to support relief efforts in impacted areas.
- Tackle companies keen to get involved in the Double Haul for Dorian online auction or wishing to make any other donations, can do so via the links below.