PORTLAND, Maine — The Bluefin Benefit Battle will gather fishermen in Maine while raising money for an important cause: families battling cancer.
The event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
"The goal is to raise as much money as we can for Maine families battling cancer. We love the fact that we can also shine a light on bluefin tuna and a light on the working waterfront," Isabelle See, a UMaine fisheries scientist specializing in Bluefin Tuna, said.
Participation is not limited to fishing. There will also be a silent auction, merchandise for sale, a benefit gala, and more.
"Fishermen are competitive no matter what, so I think it's going to be a good turnout," organizer Mitchell Napolitano told NEWS CENTER Maine.
The tournament is set to take place from July 19-24 at Portland Yacht Services, right on Portland's working waterfront.
"We thought it was an awesome idea, something that would be a little bit outside of American Cancer Society's wheelhouse," See said.
Napolitano and his wife Lexi, an ICU nurse, came up with the idea. He has been fishing for tuna for over two decades and has participated in all of Maine's tuna tournaments since he was a kid.
"I figured with the connections that my wife and I have, between her being an ICU nurse at Maine Med and the deep roots that we have in the commercial fishing industry, I figured we could do a good deed and give back a little bit to the community by giving back to families in need in Maine," Napolitano said.
"We spent two days offshore. We usually leave when the wind is blowing because that's when we can get our spot. It's pretty busy out there this time of year," Napolitano said about what it takes to try and catch a tuna.
New England and the Gulf of Maine are very rich in Bluefin Tuna, which congregate off the Maine coast all summer and fall.
"People all over the country are very passionate about health care and fishing. We knew combining these two things could make a difference in the fight against cancer. By starting the Bluefin Benefit Battle, we hope to motivate local fishermen to come together and use their passion for fishing to help local families that need our help," Napolitano explained.
"We have about 53 to 54 boats right now that are entered in the tournament, and they go from commercial fishermen to dayboat fishermen," he said. "The real winner in this event is going to be the people from Maine that we help benefit."
The event's sponsorship opportunities can be found here.
Click here to sign up!
Other details about the Bluefin Benefit Battle can be found here.
To follow their efforts, click here.