Help Save the Bent Range Marker
“The importance of this cause needs to be spotlighted and I hope that my publication of it on this sport fishing site will help further fund their efforts. The many benefits of this marker are well understood, just like in fishing we hope that casting a bigger net on the internet will help spread the knowledge and help garner support.”
The following is aggregated from the official source of information on the Bent Range Marker:
The Bent Range Marker has always served the important function as a navigational aide to large commercial shipping traffic inbound to Government Cut. Secondary to its original purpose, the Bent Range Marker has also become an important Fish Aggregating Device (“FAD”). The Bent Range Marker is located on what is now a thriving artificial reef that provides a sanctuary for live bait (pilchards, threadfin herring, blue runner, etc.). For many years, this artificial reef has been very important to the local fishing community, serving as a source for live bait that is used in in the pursuit of various species of game fish, including sailfish; tuna; dolphin and wahoo.
Biscayne Channel (“Bug”) Light, which was stationed south of Key Biscayne, was also an iconic bait fishing haven for local fishermen. In August, 2014, however, Bug Light was removed as part of an ongoing Coast Guard project throughout the region. The removal of Bug Light took all members of the fishing community by surprise. Once Bug Light was removed, this presenter commenced a campaign to try to ensure that the Bent Range Marker would not meet the same fate.
Indeed, the Bent Range Marker (as well as the rest of the original Government Cut Range Marker System) was scheduled for demolition as part of the Government Cut deep-dredging project. The remnants of the Bent Range Marker were going to be deposited offshore as part of Dade County’s Artificial Reef Program.
Discussions with the Coast Guard revealed a plan that could potentially save the Bent Range Marker. This plan involves the U.S. divesting its right, title and interest in the structure to Miami Dade County. As will be further discussed in the following chronology, members of the United States Coast Guard, Miami Dade County and the local fishing community have been able to work together in an attempt to save the Bent Range Marker. Although the plan is not quite finalized, the future of the Bent Range Marker looks bright, as it will likely continue to serve as a FAD for years to come.
There is a Go Fund Me set up for this – Please support in any denomination you feel comfortable with.
Fishermen seldom agree on all matters, but on this much we’re lock-step: More habitat equals more fish.
That’s why a collection of recreational and commercial fishermen have come together to save what’s known as the Bent Range marker. Located just outside Government Cut, the marker is a lot more than a navigational landmark, it’s a habitat for bait fish.
At a time when our natural reefs are stressed, and in a place where recreational and commercial fishing equal jobs and livelihoods for many South Florida families, we ought to be conserving manmade habitats as well as natural ones.
Unfortunately, ripping out vibrant marine habitats also means big dollars for the companies contracted to demolish these structures. In the case of Bent Range, the contract for demolition of the marker has been issued to Shoreline Foundation.
As the recent communications received from the Coast Guard indicate that the plan to save the Bent Range Marker appears to be a success, the Bob Lewis Tournament’s efforts to collect on last year’s pledges, as well as obtain new donations for this cause, are now underway. These donations are being collected in order to fund the expenses to carry out the plan to save the Bent Range Marker which included the guarantee of the contractor’s “buy out”, as well as future costs estimated by DERM, all of which total approximately $175,000.00. With the removal of Bug Light last August, the Bent Range Marker is the last FAD that holds bait off Miami.
Bob Lewis Bent Range Marker Donor Packets can be obtained by emailing Jose Fonseca, President of the Bob Lewis Tournament, at Josefonseca91@gmail.com, his wife Keylin, at Keylin@billfishchallenge.com or Bruce Marx at BMarx@Marlowadler.com. If you do not need the Donor Packet and wish to send a check, please make your check payable to the Captain Bob Lewis Billfish Challenge. On the Memo of the check (not the payee of the check), identify the “Bent Range Fund.” The Bob Lewis Tournament has opened a separate account to only receive donations for the Bent Range Marker cause. You can mail your check to 12292 S.W. 122nd Ct., Miami, Fl., 33186.
Terry Atamian’s Sportfishing Blog is dedicated to all aspects of the sport and the organizations he supports for the betterment of the environment and oceanic concerns.
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