The Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association’s (MBARA) annual Kingfish Tournament is a charity fundraiser to build reefs in the Gulf of Mexico off the coasts of Bay and Gulf County for public use.

State and Federal laws give charities a wonderful opportunity to benefit from tournaments catching King and Spanish Mackerel.

For the third consecutive year, MBARA partnered with Water Street Seafood in Apalachicola in collecting donations of mackerels during the tournament’s weigh-in to support Franklin’s Promise Coalition in Apalachicola.

This year, the MBARA tournament produced 784 pounds of mackerel donated resulting in a check to the Coalition for $1,400.92 from Water Street Seafood.

Franklin’s Promise Coalition brings the strength of all 12 sectors of Franklin’s County’s community together to identify challenges and combine resources to address unmet needs and strengthen the community. Most recently, they helped victims of the Lime Rock fire in Eastpoint.

Bob Cox, President of MBARA, says the MBARA’s annual tournaments host approximately 140 boats carrying over 550 fishermen each year.

“Through the permits available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), we’re able to do positive things with tournament fish that fishermen may not want to keep,” said MBARA president Bob Cox. “First, it’s a terrific way to help other worthy charities in need of support. Second, it’s a great way to reduce fish waste by getting it to consumers that purchase mackerels.

“This program gave us the alternative to do something very useful with the fish to make sure it’s not wasted. We appreciate Water Street Seafood’s outstanding cooperation supporting the tournament with a refrigeration truck and processing the fish for cash donations to charity. This is a great example of a people coming together and making our community better.”

The MBARA will continue take advantage the FWC’s mackerel tournament permit program and will be looking forward tournament anglers donating their catches again next year.