More Help is Desperately Needed: Hurricane Relief Efforts are Underway to Aid Florida Anglers Impacted by the Storm

Hurricane Ian devastated huge areas of coastal southwest Florida, crushing area residents. However, the IGFA’s Worldwide Anglers Relief Fund (WARF) is leading an effort to benefit coastal fishing communities who have lost so much.

Hurricane Ian destroyed boats
Destroyed boats lined the coasts. Courtesy Facebook

Southwest Florida offers some of the best saltwater fishing in the world, and late September’s catastrophic Hurricane Ian took a heavy toll on lives, buildings, the economy, and local businesses, including sportfishing.

It will take a long time for the area to rebuild to the stellar angling capital that it once was. But the WARF is leading an effort to help those recreational angling residents in Fort Myers, Naples, and other nearby communities that were severely impacted.

Recreational angling is interwoven into these communities, and many professional captains and guides have been drastically affected by this disaster, says IGFA.

“It is hard to put into words the scale of devastation and destruction caused by Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser. “While the rebuilding process after a disaster such as this takes time, the IGFA, Costa, and our partners in the WARF are working hard to ensure that we provide the captains and guides in this area financial support until they are able to get back on the water.”

In the past, WARF has distributed $225,000 to angling associations in many areas aiding captains and fishing guides to recover from natural disasters.

“It’s tough to see devastation like this happen anywhere, but especially in the state of Florida, where Costa was born, our brand roots run deep, and where so many of our Costa family, pros and partners call home,” says Costa Conservation & Community Partnerships Manager, Joe Gugino. “We are working closely with our partners at the IGFA, and are encouraging others in the industry to join us, to help raise and distribute funds to those members of the recreational angling community who so greatly need our support now.”

Many fishing industry companies and leaders are pledging support to the WARF relief in Southeast Florida. Leaders in helping WARF include: AFTCO, the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation, and the Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation.

But more help is needed by IGFA and the WARF to recoup the fishing guides and angling leaders of the region to again make the area one of the premier fishing destinations on the planet.

A press announcement from WARF stated that, “IGFA and Costa are working to identify organization(s) through which relief funds will be distributed to best support those impacted. Peviously, IGFA has collaborated with the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO), the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association (FKFGA), the Louisiana Charterboat Association (LCBA), and others.

“These organizations serve as the conduit through which the relief funds are funneled, and are required to set up an application process that individuals must go through to receive funding to ensure the integrity of the program.”

Persons wanting to help can make a direct, tax-deductible contribution to WARF through igfa.org/warf, or by purchasing Costa #OneCoast apparel at onecoast.net. Funds will directly benefit anglers, guides, crew members and outfitters in need of support following Ian.

For more information about WARF, contact Jack Vitek at [email protected]

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