Special Reports

Local fishing tourneys postponed due to oil spill

ANNA MARIA ISLAND -- Two Anna Maria Island fishing tournaments slated for the Memorial Day weekend have been postponed due to the massive oil spill in the Gulf, officials said today.

The 39th Annual Old Salt Loop Tournament and the Mike Alstott Family Foundation Inshore-Offshore Shootout will be rescheduled due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to Jill Foraker, tournament director and secretary for the Old Salt Fishing Foundation, which puts on the Old Salt Loop Tournament.

Postponement of the venerable Old Salt tourney was necessary because about 20 percent of the federal fishing grounds, where many of the anglers fish, have been closed due to the oil spill, she said.

Participants in the Old Salt tourney fish more than 125 miles offshore, Foraker said.

“We’re having a really hard time re-scheduling at this point, because we don’t know when the grounds will be reopened in the Gulf,” she said.

Both foundations support charities with proceeds from their tournaments.

However, Foraker vowed to try to raise money for her foundation’s charity, The Children’s Dream Fund, through other events.

“We’re still moving forward with the rest of our tournament schedule,” she added.

Scientists announced Thursday that the spill in the Gulf of Mexico was the worst in U.S. history, far worse than the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.