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Tampa Summer Camp Conservation Efforts

TBKA invites Tampa Summer Campers to learn about invasive fish species, and how to help protect our waterways.
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Campers for Conservation

Tampa Summer Camp Dedicated to conservation when fishing in tampa bay

Tampa Bay Kayak Anglers is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting kayaking and fishing opportunities to new and diverse audiences throughout Tampa Bay. Our programs educate anglers to fish responsibly in an effort to protect our waterways and locally native fish species. The same can be said especially for our Tampa Summer Camp Program.

TBKA invites campers to not only learn how to fish, but to learn how to fish responsibly in our environment. One way that we teach young anglers about environmental conservation is showing them how to identify non-native invasive fish species. Last summer, our campers specifically helped remove hundreds of Mayan Cichlids from our waterways.

About Mayan Cichlids in Tampa Bay

Mayan cichlids are a popular aquarium fish species that are native to Central and South America. They are known for their bright colors and relatively easy care, making them an attractive option for aquariums. Unfortunately, this non-native species has invaded the waters and aquatic habitats of Tampa Bay, where they have become a disruption to our local ecology.

Mayan cichlids can have a significant and problematic impact on the environment. They are aggressive fish that can outcompete native fish for food and habitat. They can also prey on native fish and invertebrates. Even worse, Mayan cichlids can carry harmful diseases that can spread quickly through the population of native fish.

Aside from their threat to other local species, Mayan cichlids are also a threat to our local water quality. They can stir up sediment and release nutrients into the water, which can lead to algae blooms. Algae blooms can block sunlight and reduce the amount of oxygen in the water, which can harm native plants and animals.

Our Tampa Summer Camp takes place at Mobbly Bayou Nature Preserve which has a prevalent population of Mayan Cichlids. Our summer campers typically catch-and-release fish, but in this case, they were focused specifically on finding the invasive cichlid species and removing them from the water. This effort not only helped reduce the invasive fish species but also gave our Tampa summer campers the opportunity to get a closer look at the fish. Ranging in sizes and striped in beautiful colors, it’s no wonder this problematic species has become a popular aquarium fish. Through this practice, our campers learned first-hand the consequence of improper release of aquarium fish.

How Can You Help Prevent the Spread of Mayan Cichlids in Tampa Bay?

The introduction of Mayan cichlids to new areas can have a devastating impact on the environment, but anglers can help prevent the spread of these fish. 


Here are some things you can do to help prevent the spread of invasive Mayan cichlids in Tampa Bay:

  • Do not release aquarium fish into the wild.
  • Be careful when disposing of aquarium fish waste.
  • Target the invasive species when fishing at locations suffering from overpopulation.
  • Learn about the native fish in your area and how to protect them.

By taking these steps, we can help to protect our environment from the harmful effects of invasive species.

About TBKA Fishing & Boating Summer Camp

TBKA Fishing & Boating Summer Camp is a great way for kids to learn about the environment while spending time on the water, witnessing the beauty of Mobbly Bayou Nature Preserve. Campers will learn about different types of local fish, how to fish responsibly, and how to safely operate a Jon boat. They will also learn about the importance of conservation and how to protect the environment – and put their education to practice!


If you are looking for a fun and educational summer camp for your child, TBKA Fishing & Boating Summer Camp is a great option.


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