Inaugural Making a Difference Award winners named

Sport Fishing's Doug Olander announced the honorees during the Chairman's Industry Awards Reception at ICAST 2011

July 14, 2011

Sport Fishing magazine has announced the winners of the 2011 Making a Difference Awards, a program debuting this year to recognize individuals who have made a positive difference in saltwater recreational fishing.

“The valuable contributions people make to our sport too often get little recognition. Sport Fishing is changing that by focusing a national spotlight on individuals who have made a positive difference in saltwater recreational fishing — the sport, the resource, the industry,” says Doug Olander, editor-in-chief of Sport Fishing. “We’re encouraged by the accomplishments of all the outstanding nominees we received, and we look forward to continuing and expanding the program next year.”

2011 Sport Fishing Making a Difference Awards Winners:


Capt. Al Anderson, Narragansett, Rhode Island (Judges’ Choice)
Anderson has contributed immeasurably to scientific understanding of migratory fishes in the Northeast, having put tags in more than 57,000 fish, including striped bass, tuna, sharks, bluefish and other species.

Dr. John Graves, Ph.D., Yorktown, Virginia (Judges’ Choice)
Graves’ research in the genetics of fish, with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, has helped identify and protect Atlantic blue marlin and led to critical understanding of many other types of billfish, sharks and coastal species.

Steve Medeiros, Coventry, Rhode Island (Popular Vote)
Through the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, Medeiros has made accomplishments including gaining access for anglers, getting kids out fishing, enhancing reefs, protecting forage species and more.
Capt. Billy Sandifer, Corpus Christi, Texas** (Popular Vote)
For years, Sandifer has been a guardian angel of Texas’ Padre Island National Seashore, organizing hundreds of volunteers for beach cleanups and providing daily fish and bird reports.


Tom Twyford Jr., West Palm Beach, Florida (Judges’ Choice)
Through the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, Twyford has devoted his life to improving sport fishing in a great many ways, including oyster reef and mangrove restoration, the annual Kids Fishing Day for underprivileged youths, advocacy for sport fishing to the general public, protecting public access to coastal waters and more.

Two of the five winners were selected by popular online voting and three by a panel of judges (Rob Kramer, president of IGFA; Bill Shedd, president of AFTCO; and Olander). Each winner receives a special King Sailfish Mounts desktop miniature with engraved plaque and an engraved, top-shelf Reactor watch, courtesy of the program’s sponsors.

Nominations are now open through Dec. 31, 2011, for the 2012 Making a Difference Awards, which now include a category for corporate nominations. For more information on the Making a Difference Awards or to submit a new nominee or resubmit a nominee from 2011, as well as to view nominees, visit


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