Hurricane Ida swept through Louisiana and continued on to the Northeast United States leaving a wake of devastation in its path. Our thoughts and prayers are with the fishing community and our broader AFTCO family impacted by this storm. Here are some early updates from our pros and partners in the field:
"I don't even know where to start. It's a logistical nightmare right now. You currently have to drive almost three hours west of my house for fuel. Lots of us lost our roofs and the contents of our homes. We have tons of debris in our yards, ranging from large 60' trees to other houses."
"The angling and charter community has been crushed by this storm—maybe worse than Katrina—so every bit of assistance would be amazing."
The recovery for local businesses and the angling community can take months or even years. We understand the challenges this poses to charter captains and guides, whose livelihood depends on the water. Our highest priority is offering support to our fishing communities affected by Ida.
We are also committed to the long-term rebuilding of these fisheries and believe that raising capital to support the families and livelihoods that depend on the water is crucial. That's why we've decided to donate 100% of profits from aftco.com on September 8, 2021 and marshwear.com on September 7, 2021 to IGFA's Worldwide Anglers Relief Fund (WARF).
Where the Money Is Going
The Worldwide Anglers Relief Fund (WARF) was created by the IGFA and Costa Sunglasses in 2017 to address the catastrophic impact that natural disasters have on captains, guides, crews and outfitters who depend on recreational fishing for their livelihood. To date $140,000 has been distributed to recreational angling associations in the Florida Keys, Texas, Puerto Rico, the Florida Panhandle and the Bahamas.
The WARF Fund is a pass through fund, meaning 100% of donations collected will ultimately be distributed. This fund is administered by the IGFA, 501(c)(3). On the heels of Hurricane Irma's impact on the Florida Keys, the program was created to help local charters and businesses get back on their feet as the economy recovered. It is not meant as an immediate response vehicle, and careful consideration of the ultimate grant distribution means it will take a few months for the funds to be fully deployed. If you are a guide looking for support, please contact Jack Vitek at (954) 924-4246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFTCO and our partners at Marsh Wear have generated $41,624 for this fund. This donation has not yet been distributed by the IGFA but is earmarked specifically for Louisiana. We will provide an update on how the funds will ultimately used.
The IGFA WARF Fund has impacted hundreds of individuals, here are some of the ways it has helped in the past:
"We were honored to receive a $10,000 donation from Costa's #OneCoast initiative to incorporate into our Hurricane Harvey Sportfishing & Marine Industry Fund. The distribution of funds was managed by a committee comprised of HBGFC Board Members, and 100% of the funds raised were distributed to those directly involved in the Texas offshore fishing and marine industry.
"#OneCoast's contribution to our fund allowed us to provide assistance to a total of 60 individuals, families and small businesses from Corpus Christi to Beaumont. These people are the lifeblood of HBGFC's fishing community. They are part of the family, and they share and support the passion and commitment to a lifestyle that no storm can take away.
"One recipient shared, 'Recovery is a work in progress, and we have all come a long way thanks to the support from all the good people at HBGFC, IGFA, and industry supporters like Costa."
— Laurie Bass, Texas Big Game Fishing Club