The Billfish Foundation Announces 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA – April 09, 2018 – Today, The Billfish Foundation (TBF), the world’s
leading sportfishing conservation organization for marlin, sailfish, spearfish and associated
highly migratory fish, announces this year’s winners of its prestigious Lifetime Achievement
Awards and its Club of Excellence Awards. The Lifetime Achievement Awards are named in
honor of three distinguished gentlemen who made exemplary contributions to advancing
billfish research and conservation throughout their lives. The Club Award is in recognition of big
game fishing clubs that have contributed to advancing the conservation and management of
billfish and other species, responsible sportfishing fishing and support of TBF.
THE WINTHROP P. ROCKEFELLER LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD will be presented to
Carl Liederman from Miami, FL for his extensive volunteer work over decades with recreational
fishing organizations. His tenacity and knowledge were, and still remain, valuable in assisting
organizations counter governmental measures that negatively impact recreational fishing and
related businesses. In addition, as President of Captain Harry’s Fishing Supply his ability to
identify potential economic fallout from proposed management measures is valuable for
organizations developing advocacy strategies for specific campaigns. He also recognizes that
good fish conservation and management measures return benefits to the fish and related
THE JOHN RYBOVICH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD will be presented to Captain Skip Smith
of Lighthouse Point, FL, a former TBF board member, is recognized for his long commitment to
responsible fishing practices, his world renowned achievements as a sportfishing captain when
running the Madam and the Hooker, the latter of which he now owns and charters in Costa
Rica. He is responsible for 48 world records while fishing all over the world. Skip is the
president of Smith-Merritt Insurance and is a successful producer of first-class tournament in
the Caribbean. He has volunteered repeatedly to assist TBF’s president on gear issues, once in
Washington, D.C. by presenting an expert’s opinion and demonstrating techniques to
government decision makers.
THE PAXSON H. OFFIELD LIFETIME SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT WARD will be presented to Dr.
James “Jim” Franks, a fisheries biologist with 40 years of research experience in the Gulf of
Mexico. He is a senior research scientist with the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM)
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, MS. He has authored or co-authored over 50
scientific papers on the biology and ecology of marine fishes. He serves on TBF’s satellite
tagging team in the Gulf of Mexico. He is a member of fish conservation organizations and
serves on fisheries resource management committees, including the Western Central Atlantic
Ocean Fishery Commission’s Scientific Advisory Group. He is a member and a recent Past-Chair
of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.
CLUB of EXCELLENCE AWARD
(1) TBF honors the 120-year old Tuna Club of Avalon established by Charles Frederick Holder,
author, sportsman, naturalist and co-founder of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, with other
anglers committed to responsible fishing ethics. Being 120 years old, the history of the Club is
considered the history of big-game fishing, one and the same, with goals to elevate the sport to
its highest standard and for the protection of the game fish in Southern California. Club
members also made the world's first rod and reel captures of tuna, marlin and broadbill
(2) TBF is honoring the 71-year old Ocean City Light Tackle Club established by a group of men,
who had fished together for a decade, including Alan M. Ferguson. In 1940 Ferguson landed a
114.5-pound white marlin on 6/9 threat, setting a world record and placing Ocean City on the
sportfishing map. Soon after the Club was established members adopted light tackle as the
appropriate gear for white marlin. Two Club members went further and pioneered the practice
of catch and release of white marlin.
Award presentations will be made during TBF’s annual gala on Friday, November 2, 2017 at the
Harbor Beach Marriott Resort on Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida. Come join the fun and
TBF is a 501 (c) (3) tax exempt organization created in 1986 by anglers to insure the
advancement of billfish research needed to support healthy stocks of fish so great sportfishing
opportunities would remain available worldwide.
Join TBF and become part of the world’s best billfishing team!