The Sportfishing Conservancy and NOAAʼs Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have announced that the Sanctuary Classic — a free fishing photo contest that celebrates recreational fishing in Americaʼs national marine sanctuaries and promotes conservation-focused fishing practices — will be back and better than ever in 2013.
This Summer-long event begins on June 8 — World Oceans Day— and continues through Labor Day on September 2. It encourages families to get outside and fish in our countryʼs National Marine Sanctuaries, a system that spans more than 150,000 square miles of ocean and Great Lakes waters from the Hawaiian Islands to the Florida Keys and from Lake Huron to American Somoa.
Launched in 2012, the Sanctuary Classic “tournament” rewards anglers for fishing photographs taken in any of our marine sanctuaries and entered into the contest at www.sanctuaryclassic.org.
Each week of the Classic, anglers who submit photos that receive the most online votes will win valuable gift certificates. Last year, anglers received more than $10,000 in $100 gift certificates — and this summerʼs event promises even more. At the conclusion of the 2013 Classic, judges (including renowned marine artist Guy Harvey) will select four of the submitted photographs for special Guy Harvey Sanctuary Classic Scholarship Awards, rewarding youth fishing photos that best exemplify the following themes — Kids Fishing, Kids and Family Fishing Values, Kids in the Sanctuaries, Kids in the Outdoors and Kids Conservation. Four $1,000 scholarships will be presented by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to the winning parents/guardians of children under 18.
“Weʼre going to build on the momentum we established last year and take this fun, free event to new levels in 2013,” said The Sportfishing Conservancy President Tom Raftican. “Participating and winning valuable prizes couldnʼt be easier — just fish responsibly and enjoy yourself in one of our many sanctuaries, submit your photos and encourage friends and family to vote online. This event will help spread the word that about 98% of sanctuary waters are open to recreational fishing and offer excellent, accessible opportunities for family outdoor fun. And by focusing on fun photos — instead of fish brought back to the dock — weʼre promoting the joy of catch-andrelease fishing and the benefits of ethical angling practices,” added Raftican.
Best Practices Workshops
In conjunction with the Sanctuary Classic, The Sportfishing Conservancy and the National Marine Sanctuaries will be conducting several Best Practices Workshops around the country throughout 2013. These free events bring together anglers, guides, fisheries managers and marine scientists to share effective fishing and release techniques. Events will be scheduled in various regions around the country, allowing local experts to discuss techniques and tools that work best in their area. “With recreational fishermen releasing nearly 60% of their catch nationwide (based on National Marine Fishery Services estimates), itʼs vital that we do a better job of making sure these fish survive,” said Raftican. “Improving in this area is a win-win scenario for fish and fishermen.” For a schedule of upcoming Best Practices Workshops, visit www.bestfishingpractice.org.
“We want families to get outdoors and enjoy the many recreational opportunities our marinesanctuaries provide,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of NOAAʼs Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “By encouraging participation in family activities like recreational fishing, and focusing on ethical angling practices, we can together foster a sense of responsibility for our environment.”
Additional support for the 2013 Sanctuary Classic is being provided by national and local
partners, including: The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, The Guy Harvey Foundation, TheSportfishing Conservancy, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the National Marine FisheryService and West Marine.
–– Source: Ron Ballanti