What do you get when you mix fishing and FBI-approved forensics technology? You get BountyFishing.com- home of the world's first online fishing tournament that has anglers all over North America packing their cameras along with their tackle.
BountyFishing.com was started less than a year ago by Richard Shafter, a Montreal-based entrepreneur with a desire to cast a wide net- pun intended. World-wide there are about 775 million recreational anglers, but only a very small percentage of these compete in fishing tournaments. One of the reasons for this is cost. Between the traveling, boat expenses, and fees, most fishing tournaments are prohibitive. Now Bountyfishing.com is bringing fishing tournaments to the masses, and the response has been incredible.
With a daily entry fee of $7 per tournament, Bountyfishing.com has attracted many recreational anglers throughout North America- and soon, the rest of the world. But how do you judge a tournament where the participants are many miles from each other and the judges? You bring in Hany Farid, head of the Image Science Laboratory at Dartmouth College, and the creator of the world`s most advanced digital forensics software- a software so advanced that it is used by the FBI to determine if photographs have been altered.
"I knew my idea wouldn`t be feasible unless I found a way to keep people from cheating," says Shafter. "There are a lot programs out there that make it easy to enhance photographs. Hany`s software provides an effective way to uncover tampering. " Add to this their patent pending technology for measuring the image of the fish by counting pixels, and Bountyfishing.com was ready to hold its first tournament.
It has been nearly a year since then, and what a year it`s been. Over $165,000 has been given out in prize money and the number of participants is continually rising. Many top-name sponsors have also come on board, including BoatUS, Boater`s World, Columbia Sportswear, and AiRRUS Rods.