(September 13, 2012) — Four ‘Guy Harvey Scholarship’ winners were named today in the inaugural Sanctuary Classic at an awards luncheon held at the Gulf Coast Fishing Center in Largo, Florida. Each of the young winners will receive a $1,000 college scholarship for the photo best showing both conservation and family fishing during this national fishing photo tournament that highlighted fishing in the national marine sanctuaries and encouraged families to get out together.
Pictures of Wesley Farrer from the Florida Keys as well as Michael and Anthony Gonzales, also from the Florida Keys, joined Aidan Rose and Zane Toyon, both from the Channel Islands Sanctuary, as winners of the Guy Harvey Scholarship Award.
Throughout the summer, participants of all ages fished in national marine sanctuaries. But unlike some traditional tournaments that culminate in measuring and mounting a fish, participants in the Sanctuary Classic vie for the best photo. Hundreds of people submitted photos of their sanctuary adventures and competed for online votes in weekly prize contests. All photos submitted were considered in the judging for the four scholarships. The judges were world-renowned artist Guy Harvey, Jim Toomey of the nationally syndicated cartoon strip Sherman’s Lagoon, and IMAX film guru Barbara MacGilivray.
“We are incredibly proud of our partners in this initial Sanctuary Classic,” said Tom Raftican, President of The Sportfishing Conservancy, creator of the Classic. “The partnership among government, private parties and NGOs produced amazing results, from the Sanctuaries Foundation to NOAA Sanctuaries and Fisheries to Guy Harvey, EDF and others.”
While participation was encouraged in every national marine sanctuary, the tournament this year focused on four – the Florida Keys, Channel Islands (CA), Gray’s Reef (GA) and Monterey Bay (CA). Video highlights from each of these sanctuaries can be seen at www.SanctuaryClassic.org. In 2013, the Classic plans to highlight other national marine sanctuaries around the country.
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) supported the Sanctuary Classic through a Hollings Grant. Recipients of these competitively awarded grants develop projects that engage the public on ocean conservation issues in national marine sanctuaries. In 2011, The Sportfishing Conservancy, which organized the tournament, was one of eight projects supported.
“The Sanctuary Classic was an important investment for us because it helps connect sanctuaries to people who may not realize what great recreational opportunities they offer,” NMSF President Jason Patlis said. “Now, having seen the tournament’s popularity, it’s clearer than ever that promoting our sanctuaries’ public accessibility is critical.”
“This year’s classic established a tremendous precedent for an expanded Classic next year,” said Raftican. “The Classic will run from National Oceans Day in June to the Monday of Labor Day. We asked anglers to use Best Practices when fishing within Sanctuary waters. We also intend to follow up with Best Practices Workshops to further develop the concept at Gray’s Reef this November.”
The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is currently accepting applications for 2012 Hollings Grant awards, seeking projects that – like the Sanctuary Classic – engage Americans in everyday ocean conservation.
–– Source: Strike Zone Communications