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!
What Follows You When Fishing Outside the U.S. May Bite You Upon Your Return
A Public Service Announcement from Ellen Peel, President, The Billfish Foundation
Did you know that a US-registered vessel holding a federally issued HMS permit must comply with US rules and regulations, no matter where it fishes? While traveling beyond the bounds of the U.S. and into waters of other nations may give you a sense of being unburdened by fishing regulations, this is not the case. Just as the IRS taxes income generated by Americans regardless as to where in the world the income was derived, the rules and regulations of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) follow permit-holding vessels no matter where they fish.
If the vessel you are fishing on has a U.S. federal HMS Angling Permit, compliance to U.S. federal law and regulations follows you and the boat. HMS stands for highly migratory species—such as marlin, tuna, wahoo and swordfish. Whether the nation in whose waters you are fishing does or does not have size or daily limits on billfish or other species, vessels with US permits are bound by US regulations attached to the permit (101” ljfl blue marlin, for instance).
Big Picture: Potential Consequences to Your US Tournament Fishing
The arm of the National Marine Fisheries Service is long with regard to highly migratory species. HMS species are governed by national law and by international agreements. The U.S. is obligated (via annual treaty negotiations and U.S. law) to regulate and manage the landing of fish in accordance with agreed-upon requirements. International fisheries management agreements divide catch among the many nations that harvest fish in the Atlantic. Therefore, NMFS is required to not only report landing information of fish caught in the US, but also those caught by US boats fishing internationally.
This is an important consideration. Not only do the permit constraints pertain to the individual vessel, but the actions of US vessels fishing abroad have the potential to impact fishing access in the US. As a group US sportfishing vessels with federal permits are restricted to landing no more than 250 Atlantic marlin (blue and white combined) each year. This 250-fish limit is the level that was negotiated by the US delegation to ICCAT (the international treaty that manages fisheries in the Atlantic). If the 250 Atlantic marlin limit is exceeded, all billfishing in US waters, whether in a tournament or not, will be required to follow an all release format.
If the number of marlin landed by US vessels significantly exceeds the annual limit, the all-release format could be extended for more than 12 months. Possible repercussions to vessels (captains, owners, mates and anglers included), who land or are responsible for landing an Atlantic marlin, say in the Dominican Republic, Bahamas or elsewhere, which counts against the 250 limit could be painful.
If you think there is no way the NMFS will know what Atlantic marlin you land or help land outside U.S. waters, well, think again. With technology and social media, it is often surprising how much information is shared and posted about fishing exploits each day. One successful day’s social media post may be determined by the HMS Office to be a reflection of how many fish are landed on an average day. This may be used by the NMFS to determine when the 250-marlin threshold is met.
Recently the US NMFS made significant staffing investments to more thoroughly review websites, Facebook posts and tournament news. The goals of this investment is to strengthen monitoring and enforcement of regulations, including the Atlantic marlin landing limit numbers.
A Special Note to Boat Owners
If you enjoy fishing and winning big money tournaments in the US, please share this information with your captain and crew. Landing Atlantic marlin – or handing a hooked marlin from your boat to a local fisherman – may eliminate your access to big fish, big money tournaments in the states. Beyond the potential loss in tournament access, there exists the possibility for serious consequences for violating US regulations when fishing outside the US.
Reported landings of marlin in the Dominican Republic by crews on US vessels, through transfer of marlin to local pangas, has increased the number of landed Atlantic marlin exponentially. Great scrutiny is likely underway.
The best insurance for retaining the opportunity to win big money, big fish Atlantic marlin tournaments is to catch, resuscitate and release billfish you catch while fishing in other nations’ waters. The U.S. requires all U.S. tournaments with billfish categories to report landed fish; you can bet cross-checking the reported numbers to postings is a norm. Protect your option to win the big purse at home by helping to keep the number of Atlantic marlin landed to a minimum.
The unique oceanographic conditions of the eastern tropical Pacific make the area one of the best spots in the world for big game anglers to hook billfish. But intense pressures from commercial fishing operations have taken their toll on the numbers of sailfish and marlin in the region. Researchers are studying the animals to provide the data necessary to protect the fish populations from further decline.
Have you ever wondered who the best anglers, captains and crews are here in South Florida? Some boats might have their luck at a two day tournament, but what about every weekend? What about over the entire [Read more…]