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  • #21
    The Billfish Foundation continues building strong relat

    TBF succeeds in push of Vessel Monitoring System
    mandate in Costa Rican waters
    The Billfish Foundation continues building strong relations on fisheries conservation
    SAN JOSE, Costa Rica and FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., USA (September 7, 2009) -- New regulations enacted by INCOPESCA, the Costa Rican fisheries agency, will require electronic vessel monitoring systems (VMS) on all commercial vessels larger than 56 ft. that operate in Costa Rican waters. These rules were published on August 5 and all affected vessels must have operational systems within six months of that date.
    The Billfish Foundation’s (TBF) Chief Scientist Dr. Russell Nelson and TBF Central American Conservation Director Herbert Nanne have been pushing INCOPESCA to develop these regulations for a year-and-a-half. “The mandatory use of VMS will allow Costa Rica’s officials to monitor via satellite the exact positions of all purse seine vessels and large longliners and more easily enforce closed areas and other conservation directives,” said Nelson.
    Nanne added, “Costa Rica does not allow purse seine fishing on FADs (fish aggregating devices) because of the high bycatch of billfish, dorado, wahoo and other finfish, but we have for years suspected the foreign permitted vessels of using this destructive fishing practice in Costa Rica’s waters. Now VMS will reveal whether they are fishing inside our 12 mile territorial waters, or going into protected areas like the Coco Island National Park waters.”
    Ellen Peel, TBF President, observed, ”We all owe Luis Dobles, the new President of INCOPESCA for taking yet another step towards stronger fisheries conservation. Hopefully purse seiners being tracked on VMS will think twice before repeating last year’s incident in which several sport fishing boats after being deliberately surrounded by a large purse seine and threatened while peacefully trolling for tuna.”
    The regulations taking effect Feb. 5, 2010, do not apply to private and charter sportfishing vessels.
    Over the past year Costa Rica has been proactive in enacting conservation laws and measures to control commercial overfishing. Last December INCOPESCA passed measures protecting its sailfish and other sport fishing resources by putting a halt to the exportation of sailfish meat and stopped the use of live bait by the commercial long-liners. A month later Costa Rica formed the first national sport fishing federation representing the interests of its anglers and the sport fishing tourism industry.
    Established in 1986 The Billfish Foundation by the late Winthrop P. Rockefeller is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. With world headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., USA, TBF’s comprehensive network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs, sport fishing and tourism businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy.
    TBF’s web site is www.billfish.org and its phone number is 800-438-8247, ext 108 for Ellen Peel or (561) 449-9637 for Dr. Nelson.
    ###

    9/7/2009 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
    Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
    480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
    Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
    http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
    http://jerrylabella.com

    Comment


    • #22
      TBF’s Peel representing U.S. as Commissioner to ICCAT

      For immediate release

      TBF’s Peel representing U.S. as Commissioner to ICCAT
      The Billfish Foundation President Ellen Peel in Brazil for 10 day worldwide summit
      but is not overly optimistic about strong conservation measures being passed

      FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. USA and RECIFE, Brazil -- (November 6, 2009) -- Ellen Peel who was recently appointed as the new U.S. Commissioner to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) is in Brazil today for the start of the 21st annual meeting of the commission.
      But on the eve of the 10 day (Nov. 6 – 15) summit Ms. Peel, who has been the president of The Billfish Foundation for over a decade, is not highly optimistic any strong changes will be made among the attending countries to conservation of tuna and related species.
      “The past failure of ICCAT to pass science-based conservation measures for Atlantic bluefin tuna have been cited in proposals by Monaco and other nations to have the species listed by the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES),” said Peel.
      “Last month the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior announced that they will support a CITES listing if ICCAT fails to pass strong conservation measures during the Brazil meeting. A CITES listing would prohibit international trade in bluefin tuna but would not affect the recreational or commercial harvest and trade of fish taken within a nation's waters.
      "TBF took a position supporting a CITES listing last July," continued Peel, "and while we stand ready to endorse a very strong conservation measure by ICCAT this year we are not overly optimistic."
      ICCAT is an inter-governmental fishery organization responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent seas which includes the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. The commission holds a regular meeting every other year and a special meeting in alternate years. Currently there are 48 member nations.
      In October Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, said, “We are sending a clear and definitive statement to the international community that the status quo is not acceptable. Over the past 40 years, the international body that manages bluefin tuna, ICCAT, has overseen a 72 percent decline in the adult population of the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stock of bluefin tuna and an 82 percent decline in the adult population of the western Atlantic stock.”
      TBF Chief Scientist Dr. Russell Nelson, who served as a research biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, and was the Chief Scientist and Director of Marine Fisheries for the State of Florida is again serving on the U.S. delegation at the ICCAT meetings.
      Nelson stated, "I do not believe that anything short of a fully enforced ICCAT moratorium on international trade of bluefin tuna in the Atlantic will send a message sufficient to avoid a CITES listing. It’s frankly unlikely that the illegal and unreported fishing that is landing twice the tonnage recommended by the science can be controlled."
      A meeting of the member nations of CITES will take place in March 13 – 24 in Doha, Qatar.
      Peel added, “We do feel somewhat optimistic though that the new Chair of ICCAT, Fabio Hazen a scientist from Brazil, is working hard to get something out of this session.
      “We are also encouraged there will be a working group meeting on Sport and Recreational Fishing this week at the Brazil meetings. This is a first. Many nations do not acknowledge their sportfisheries and view them more as a nuisance rather than an economic driver and an activity compatible with conserving the resources. Many nations therefore do not collect data from their sportfisheries, hence no data, no fishery that needs acknowledgement.”
      She said TBF wants to help change that, getting members from the sportfishing communities on the delegations of other nations to change the dialogue.
      “If others, commercial and government, are only thinking of ‘pounds of fish dead on the deck for consumption’ there is no meaningful debate. This will take a long time, but we all know there are many businesses in Asia and elsewhere that benefit from sportfishing, and we need them to be part of the ICCAT dialogue.”
      Many overfished species like juvenile tuna are part of the food chain for the migrating billfish. Increasingly more countries are witnessing the value of the migration of sailfish and marlin in their regions as catch-and-release sportfish adding greatly to tourism dollars and to the growth of their economy.
      Headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., The Billfish Foundation works with governments worldwide advancing the conservation of billfish and associated species to improve the health of oceans and regional economies. Most recently it has been assisting with governmental efforts in numerous Central and South American countries.
      Established in 1986 by the late Winthrop P. Rockefeller, TBF is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. TBF’s comprehensive network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs, sport fishing and tourism businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy.
      Reach Ms. Peel at Ellen_Peel@billfish.org or by phone at 800-438-8247, ext 108.
      ###

      TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications
      Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
      480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
      Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
      http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
      http://jerrylabella.com

      Comment


      • #23
        Conversation and conservation piece, catch & release ce

        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE w/photo of certificate

        Conversation and conservation piece, catch & release certificates part of $25 membership in The Billfish Foundation;
        Impressive new Carey Chen artistry/foiled stamped certificates commemorate a
        great day of catching billfish and releasing them; they’re free for TBF members

        FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. Is there an angler in your family or a friend who loves catching and releasing billfish? Here’s a great gift idea which will keep on giving throughout 2010.
        The Billfish Foundation (TBF) has added a new and striking “billfish release” certificate for anglers worldwide wanting to document that special fishing moment and many others in 2010. It’s part of TBF’s signature Tag & Release program now in its 20th year and a free bonus throughout the year to TBF members. Annual membership into TBF is just $25.
        The impressive 8 ½” x 11” silver foiled stamped document -- with its Carey Chen artistry of billfish, perfect for framing to proudly display in the office or home -- is free to TBF members. Each highlights the angler’s name, date, location, number of billfish species released, captain and boat.
        “It’s both an instant conversation and conservation piece,” said TBF President Ellen Peel.” It’s also a way of honoring the anglers, captains and mates, TBF’s volunteer stewards of the seas, for relaying their reports of the specific areas and conditions of the billfish they caught from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and then safely released. Some skippers and anglers are also equipped with our TBF tagging data kits.”
        The release and or tagged reports are entered into TBF’s new data bank and also for a yearly “competition” of captains, anglers and mates who generate the most annual information.
        TBF Science and Policy Specialist Elliott Stark said, “A combined total of nearly 16,000 TBF ‘tagging data reports’ and ‘release notification cards’ were generated last year. Of those 8549 billfish were released without being tagged and another 7180 billfish were tagged and then released. TBF members from more than 70 countries are invited to participate each year.
        “Since TBF houses the largest private database on billfish, managing bodies of domestic and international marine resources like the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) rely on TBF to update their databases increasing their knowledge of the migration behaviors of billfish,” he said.
        “In turn,” said Ms. Peel, “captains, mates and anglers of all ages enjoy the release certificates as a lasting way to commemorate the catch, release and conservation of a billfish.
        “Carey’s gorgeous illustrations are in numerous TBF publications and we auction original paintings of his at our October dinner each year,” she said.
        Stark added, “Anglers can receive a certificate as a free premium once they become an active member of TBF whether they release or tag a billfish. Anglers must fill out the TBF release card, giving us a record of their catch. As long as the person is an active member of TBF, they can receive an unlimited amount of certificates under their name.”
        To join TBF go on-line to www.billfish.org or phone Deborah Cummings at 954-938-0150, ext. 106 or email her at Deborah_Cummings@billfish.org. Ms Peel can be reached at ext. 108 or Ellen_Peel@billfish.org , and Stark at ext 101 or Elliott_Stark@billfish.org.
        ###
        Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications
        480-951-3654; email johnsoncom@aol.com

        (photo caption)
        The Billfish Foundation’s new Release Certificate features the angler’s name, number of billfish species with the impressive artwork of Carey Chen, and TBF lo
        Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
        http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
        http://jerrylabella.com

        Comment


        • #24
          The Billfish Foundation’s Ellen Peel - 2010

          For Immediate Release w/photo

          The Billfish Foundation’s Ellen Peel - 2010
          inductee into the Big Game Room Hall of Fame
          Ceremony & reception at 5 p.m. Thurs. Feb. 11, at Miami International Boat Show

          MIAMI, Florida, USA — Ellen Peel, whose passion, tenacity and perseverance as the president and chief executive officer of The Billfish Foundation in advancing the conservation of billfish, will be inducted into the 2010 Big Game Room Hall of Fame at the Miami International Boat Show, Thursday, February 11, at 5 p.m.
          Ms. Peel becomes the hall’s seventh inductee in the Big Game Room; an arena where the blue water industry’s premier fishing talent gather, made up of expert and celebrity anglers, world wide tournament organizers, boat and tackle manufacturers, conservation groups, renowned artists, and representatives from far off exotic resorts and fishing destinations.
          TBF Board Chairman John Brownlee who is also the editor of Salt Water Sportsman Magazine said, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor than Ellen. She works tirelessly to make our sport better, and without her fierce determination and consummate skill, the billfish of the world would be much worse off. So would we!”
          A reception in Ellen’s honor will follow on the Big Game Room Stage.
          In March Ms. Peel will begin her 14th year as the head of TBF, a post many in billfishing and marine conservation say was a position she was born for. The Gulf of Mexico was her back yard growing up in Long Beach, Miss., and her respect for billfishing grew in coastal Gulf Breeze, Fla. She’s at home on deep blue water oceans or fly fishing a remote trout stream.
          Her appreciation for the outdoors was broadened working for the National Park Service before pursuing a law degree at Ole Miss. Knowing she wanted to represent big migratory fish including billfish species she continued her studies with a masters of law in marine resources at the Univ. of Washington in Seattle. With her specialization she worked in Washington D.C. at the Center for Marine Conservation getting a solid background with the law-making process.
          As a then TBF member Ellen urged the foundation to be involved in key federal fishing management meetings with the decision makers. The late Winthrop P. Rockefeller, of Little Rock Ark., founded TBF in 1986, offering her the vacant executive director’s position in 1996.
          Despite many challenges like the reduced worldwide populations of billfish caused by commercial longlining and netting, her message remains clear – good conservation pays in benefits to the fish stocks, the oceans’ ecosystems, improved fishing opportunities, strong economies and prepared future generations of ocean stewards and users. Through education, research, science, advocacy and uniting the recreational fishing community as a single, powerful voice, TBF’s accomplishments have been many including key socio-economic work in the Central and South Americas, and TBF’s Tag & Release program and its technology.
          In 2009, because of her dedication to marine resources, Ellen was designated to serve as the Acting U.S. Recreational Fishing Commissioner to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT), pending final approval by the Office of the President, which is anticipated to be announced soon.
          She follows to the BGR Hall of Fame stage Capt. Joan Vernon who was inducted last year. Joan is also a member of the TBF board and served as its past chairman.
          The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. With world headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., TBF’s comprehensive network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs, sport fishing and tourism businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy. The TBF web site is billfish.org.
          ###
          2/09/2010 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
          Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
          480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
          Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
          http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
          http://jerrylabella.com

          Comment


          • #25
            The Billfish Foundation troubled by netters in Bahamas

            For Immediate Release

            The Billfish Foundation troubled by
            commercial netters in Bahamas
            Purse seine netters seeking permits in highly prized sportfishing/tourism locale

            FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida, USA — A commercial Bahamian purse seine netting operation is attempting to obtain permits to begin operating in the islands of the Bahamas for yellowfin tuna, much to the frustration of conservation groups and sports fishing interests.
            “If the Bahamian government authorizes commercial purse seining of tuna it could have a devastating effect,” said Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation.
            “We are asking the government to consider a moratorium before any permits are issued.
            “Purse seine netters are indiscriminate,” she added. “Such a large scale net vessel (with nets reportedly a mile long) will have bycatch trapped in the nets of not only blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish but it will also kill marine mammals such as porpoises and bottle nosed dolphin as well as endangered sea turtles.
            “Attempts by commercial operators from Japan, Korean and Taiwan to seine net in the islands have been rejected over the years, but the current marine laws in the Bahamas apparently don’t exclude Bahamian operators within its own country like the one on Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, from setting up an operation,” said Peel.
            Seines are large nets that hang like a vertical fence with weights at the bottom. The purse seine style of nets employ rings at the bottom in which a rope is fed through. As the boat encircles a school of fish the rope is pulled closing the net, not allowing the targeted fish, trapped billfish or mammals to escape below.
            “That negative impact will kill the sportfishing tourism industry so vital to their nation.”
            TBF Chief Scientist Dr. Russell Nelson added, "If they want to catch yellowfin they are going to end up using fish aggregating devices (FADs) which in turn will attract lots of billfish, dolphin, wahoo and other fish that will become bycatch and die."
            TBF is asking for the Bahamian government to enact a moratorium so its law makers can have time to look at scientific and socio-economic data.
            She asked, “Why would a nation that has demonstrated responsible fishery and ocean management for years now take huge steps backwards, steps that could economically and ecologically permanently damage the entire archipelago?”
            Since its passing in 1994, Florida has banned netting in its coastal waters. Over the years studies have shown the extensive coastal fishery is once again rebounding.
            Recent socio-economic studies completed by The Billfish Foundation in countries like Mexico and Costa Rica, document that responsible sportfishing of billfish -- primarily catch and release -- generates far more economic return to a nation than large commercial vessels that take, kill and move on to others waters while only having to pay a few license and permit fees.
            “Once vessels like this are permitted to fish the region,” said Peel, “that nation's waters become depleted of many marine fish that are indicators of the health of their ecosystems. Large pelagic fish like billfish and tuna help support a number of jobs and industries throughout the Bahamas. Their presence in the waters is important also for balancing the functions of the ecosystems.”
            Peel said TBF is sending its economic and scientific data to the Bahamian Prime Minister and other ministers and key officials there in hopes that they see the huge error and halt it before the purse seine vessel can ever drop its first net. She added that she’s prepared to go to the Bahamas immediately with scientists and reports to talk with officials about what they are considering.
            Already the reaction is growing in the marine community after a TBF news alert was sent Thursday to its comprehensive network of members and supporters including concerned anglers, captains, mates, hotel and marina owners, tackle shops, tournament directors and other ancillary groups.
            “We’ll see what happens hopefully to resolve this quickly in the coming weeks, if not days,” Peel said.
            With its world headquarters based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy. The TBF web site can be found at billfish.org and phone number is 800-438-8247
            ###

            2/22/2010 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
            Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
            480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
            Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
            http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
            http://jerrylabella.com

            Comment


            • #26
              The Billfish Foundation troubled by netters in Bahamas

              For Immediate Release

              The Billfish Foundation troubled by
              commercial netters in Bahamas
              Purse seine netters seeking permits in highly prized sportfishing/tourism locale

              FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida, USA — A commercial Bahamian purse seine netting operation is attempting to obtain permits to begin operating in the islands of the Bahamas for yellowfin tuna, much to the frustration of conservation groups and sports fishing interests.
              “If the Bahamian government authorizes commercial purse seining of tuna it could have a devastating effect,” said Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation.
              “We are asking the government to consider a moratorium before any permits are issued.
              “Purse seine netters are indiscriminate,” she added. “Such a large scale net vessel (with nets reportedly a mile long) will have bycatch trapped in the nets of not only blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish but it will also kill marine mammals such as porpoises and bottle nosed dolphin as well as endangered sea turtles.
              “Attempts by commercial operators from Japan, Korean and Taiwan to seine net in the islands have been rejected over the years, but the current marine laws in the Bahamas apparently don’t exclude Bahamian operators within its own country like the one on Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, from setting up an operation,” said Peel.
              Seines are large nets that hang like a vertical fence with weights at the bottom. The purse seine style of nets employ rings at the bottom in which a rope is fed through. As the boat encircles a school of fish the rope is pulled closing the net, not allowing the targeted fish, trapped billfish or mammals to escape below.
              “That negative impact will kill the sportfishing tourism industry so vital to their nation.”
              TBF Chief Scientist Dr. Russell Nelson added, "If they want to catch yellowfin they are going to end up using fish aggregating devices (FADs) which in turn will attract lots of billfish, dolphin, wahoo and other fish that will become bycatch and die."
              TBF is asking for the Bahamian government to enact a moratorium so its law makers can have time to look at scientific and socio-economic data.
              She asked, “Why would a nation that has demonstrated responsible fishery and ocean management for years now take huge steps backwards, steps that could economically and ecologically permanently damage the entire archipelago?”
              Since its passing in 1994, Florida has banned netting in its coastal waters. Over the years studies have shown the extensive coastal fishery is once again rebounding.
              Recent socio-economic studies completed by The Billfish Foundation in countries like Mexico and Costa Rica, document that responsible sportfishing of billfish -- primarily catch and release -- generates far more economic return to a nation than large commercial vessels that take, kill and move on to others waters while only having to pay a few license and permit fees.
              “Once vessels like this are permitted to fish the region,” said Peel, “that nation's waters become depleted of many marine fish that are indicators of the health of their ecosystems. Large pelagic fish like billfish and tuna help support a number of jobs and industries throughout the Bahamas. Their presence in the waters is important also for balancing the functions of the ecosystems.”
              Peel said TBF is sending its economic and scientific data to the Bahamian Prime Minister and other ministers and key officials there in hopes that they see the huge error and halt it before the purse seine vessel can ever drop its first net. She added that she’s prepared to go to the Bahamas immediately with scientists and reports to talk with officials about what they are considering.
              Already the reaction is growing in the marine community after a TBF news alert was sent Thursday to its comprehensive network of members and supporters including concerned anglers, captains, mates, hotel and marina owners, tackle shops, tournament directors and other ancillary groups.
              “We’ll see what happens hopefully to resolve this quickly in the coming weeks, if not days,” Peel said.
              With its world headquarters based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy. The TBF web site can be found at billfish.org and phone number is 800-438-8247
              ###

              2/22/2010 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
              Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
              480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
              Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
              http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
              http://jerrylabella.com

              Comment


              • #27
                The Billfish Foundation troubled by netters in Bahamas

                For Immediate Release

                The Billfish Foundation troubled by
                commercial netters in Bahamas
                Purse seine netters seeking permits in highly prized sportfishing/tourism locale

                FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida, USA — A commercial Bahamian purse seine netting operation is attempting to obtain permits to begin operating in the islands of the Bahamas for yellowfin tuna, much to the frustration of conservation groups and sports fishing interests.
                “If the Bahamian government authorizes commercial purse seining of tuna it could have a devastating effect,” said Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation.
                “We are asking the government to consider a moratorium before any permits are issued.
                “Purse seine netters are indiscriminate,” she added. “Such a large scale net vessel (with nets reportedly a mile long) will have bycatch trapped in the nets of not only blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish but it will also kill marine mammals such as porpoises and bottle nosed dolphin as well as endangered sea turtles.
                “Attempts by commercial operators from Japan, Korean and Taiwan to seine net in the islands have been rejected over the years, but the current marine laws in the Bahamas apparently don’t exclude Bahamian operators within its own country like the one on Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, from setting up an operation,” said Peel.
                Seines are large nets that hang like a vertical fence with weights at the bottom. The purse seine style of nets employ rings at the bottom in which a rope is fed through. As the boat encircles a school of fish the rope is pulled closing the net, not allowing the targeted fish, trapped billfish or mammals to escape below.
                “That negative impact will kill the sportfishing tourism industry so vital to their nation.”
                TBF Chief Scientist Dr. Russell Nelson added, "If they want to catch yellowfin they are going to end up using fish aggregating devices (FADs) which in turn will attract lots of billfish, dolphin, wahoo and other fish that will become bycatch and die."
                TBF is asking for the Bahamian government to enact a moratorium so its law makers can have time to look at scientific and socio-economic data.
                She asked, “Why would a nation that has demonstrated responsible fishery and ocean management for years now take huge steps backwards, steps that could economically and ecologically permanently damage the entire archipelago?”
                Since its passing in 1994, Florida has banned netting in its coastal waters. Over the years studies have shown the extensive coastal fishery is once again rebounding.
                Recent socio-economic studies completed by The Billfish Foundation in countries like Mexico and Costa Rica, document that responsible sportfishing of billfish -- primarily catch and release -- generates far more economic return to a nation than large commercial vessels that take, kill and move on to others waters while only having to pay a few license and permit fees.
                “Once vessels like this are permitted to fish the region,” said Peel, “that nation's waters become depleted of many marine fish that are indicators of the health of their ecosystems. Large pelagic fish like billfish and tuna help support a number of jobs and industries throughout the Bahamas. Their presence in the waters is important also for balancing the functions of the ecosystems.”
                Peel said TBF is sending its economic and scientific data to the Bahamian Prime Minister and other ministers and key officials there in hopes that they see the huge error and halt it before the purse seine vessel can ever drop its first net. She added that she’s prepared to go to the Bahamas immediately with scientists and reports to talk with officials about what they are considering.
                Already the reaction is growing in the marine community after a TBF news alert was sent Thursday to its comprehensive network of members and supporters including concerned anglers, captains, mates, hotel and marina owners, tackle shops, tournament directors and other ancillary groups.
                “We’ll see what happens hopefully to resolve this quickly in the coming weeks, if not days,” Peel said.
                With its world headquarters based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy. The TBF web site can be found at billfish.org and phone number is 800-438-8247
                ###

                2/22/2010 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
                Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
                480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
                Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
                http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
                http://jerrylabella.com

                Comment


                • #28
                  Netting: TBF is pleased Bahamian government

                  For Immediate Release

                  Netting: TBF is pleased Bahamian government
                  is responding in a positive manner;
                  anglers have opportunity to speak Monday
                  Town Meeting on tuna netting issues, at the BNT in Freeport, Monday, March 1st

                  FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., USA -- The Billfish Foundation (TBF) is pleased the Bahamian government is taking a quick response in addressing the issue of whether to permit the use of purse seine netting gear in its waters.
                  The concern began mid-February when two brothers in Freeport on Grand Bahama Island, wanting to start a commercial Bahamian purse seine netting operation for yellowfin tuna, attempted to obtain permits to begin operating much to the frustration of conservation groups and sports fishing interests.
                  “The negative response from anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors and conservation associations was immediate and forceful,” said TBF president Ellen Peel.
                  TBF, a non-profit association for the conservation of billfish, sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Marine Resources, Lawrence Cartwright, detailing the egregious error of permitting purse seiners to operate in their waters.
                  The purse seine style of net hangs vertically and employs rings at the bottom in which a rope is fed through. As the boat deploys the net wrapping it around a school of fish the rope is pulled closing the net, not allowing the targeted fish, nor the trapped billfish, mammals, sea turtles and other species to escape below, adding to overfishing.
                  “In response the Bahamian government issued a statement that it is ‘not minded’ to permit the use of the netting gear and in so doing acknowledged the economic importance of sportfishing to their tourism industry and the threat such net gear could render to their marine species.”
                  Peel added that the robust sportfishing tourism economy driven by the availability of marlin and sailfish in the Bahamian waters would collapse if there were no billfish to catch.
                  “The Bahamas took the lead in 1977 to ban longlining in its waters, many years before Florida banned nets, and it now boosts an outstanding marine ecosystem.
                  “Working together good conservation pays off economically and ecologically.”

                  Town Meeting in Freeport, Monday to address the netting issue
                  Though the minister issued his opposition statement to permitting netting, TBF has learned the government, through the Grand Bahamas Regional Committee of the Bahamas National Trust, will host a town meeting in Freeport to discuss the netting of tuna in its waters.
                  It will take place Monday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the BNT’s Rand Nature Center on E. Settlers Way. For more information phone 242-352-5438. Each individual wishing to speak will be allowed five minutes to present their information to the government representatives. For those who cannot attend the meeting they can send their comments to the Honorable Larry Cartwright, Minister of Agriculture & Marine Resources at Larrycartwright@bahamas.gov and copy to the Bahamas National Trust on their website at: www.bnt.bs/contact_us.php.
                  With its world headquarters based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations worldwide. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, the organization works for solutions that are good for billfish, not punitive to recreational anglers and good for the local economy. The TBF web site can be found at billfish.org and phone number is 800-438-8247
                  ###

                  2/26/2010 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
                  Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
                  Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
                  http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
                  http://jerrylabella.com

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Fishing is huge asset: North American anglers contribut

                    Fishing is huge asset: North American anglers contribute
                    $599 million annually to Costa Rican economy

                    FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. --Tourism is Costa Rica’s top industry and new research shows North Americans traveling there in 2008 to fish generated $599 million - or about two percent of Costa Rica’s gross domestic product.
                    The study, conducted in 2009 by The Billfish Foundation, Southwick Associates and the University of Costa Rica, revealed 283,790 anglers visited Costa Rica and their economic impact even overshadowed commercial fishing. It was estimated 22 percent of those tourists visited the country for the exclusive purpose of fishing.

                    Recreational fishing surpasses commercial fishing revenue; more CR jobs
                    From that $599 million the study also showed sportfishing generated almost $78 million in tax revenues for Costa Rica and 63,000 jobs. In comparison, the effect of commercial fishing for the same species sought by anglers generated approximately $528 million to Costa Rica’s gross domestic product. Commercial fishing contributed $68.6 million in tax revenue and created 57,000 jobs.
                    “We have already had the opportunity to present the results of this study to the incoming vice president and minister of tourism,” said Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation. “And we will be making a formal presentation to a wider cross sector of government and business leaders this summer. The leadership in Costa Rica had no idea that their country receives more benefits from a sustainable recreational harvest than from the subsidized excessive effort in the commercial fishery.”
                    The comprehensive study included interviewing tourists at Costa Rica’s major airports to estimate the percentage who fished while visiting. The research focused on the expenditures and economic impacts of marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dorado; species that are the most frequent targets of commercial fisherman and recreational anglers.
                    It was estimated the 283,790 North Americans visiting Costa Rica in 2008 spent a total of $467 million. The survey revealed $329 million was spent on travel including lodging ($119 million), restaurants ($15.6 million), flights and fishing guides ($88 million) and land transportation ($6 million). These dollars then change hands multiple times in Costa Rica, creating significant benefits for the nation’s gross domestic product. In addition, visitors spent approximately $105 million outside of CostaRica prior to arrival for airfare or other travel expenses, though these dollars are not included in the economic analyses.
                    About 3,700 of those visiting Costa Rica have their own boats in the country, whether permanently or temporarily, and they spent approximately $138 million for items such as fuel ($45.6 million), maintenance and repairs ($25 million), furniture and accessories for their vessels ($48 million), staff and crews ($2.8 million), marina fees ($16.6 million), and taxes and insurance ($1.8 million).
                    “TBF believes that only when decision makers understand the economic importance of good fishing opportunities for tourist anglers will billfish conservation get on the radar screen of government leaders charged with economic development as well as fisheries management,“ said Dr. Russell Nelson chief scientist for TBF. “And now thanks to the dedication of TBF members and generous donors who have supported our socio-economic research, we are making the point.”
                    Additional work conducted in the U.S. by Southwick Associates, Inc. estimated 7.5 million Americans fished outside of their country in 2009 with 3.6 percent of them traveling to Costa Rica. Among anglers vacationing in Costa Rica, 40 percent said they would not have visited the country if they could not fish. Those anglers, who represent 116,000 visitors per year and about $135 million in tourism income for Costa Rica, said the main factor in determining their satisfaction is “quality of fishing” followed by “relative peace and quiet,” and “fishing services, boat and crew quality.” The majority of anglers reported they visited Costa Rica to catch billfish including sailfish, marlin along with dorado. Inshore species such as snook and tarpon were less frequent targets.

                    More socio-economic fishing studies on tap in region
                    “This was the first study done in Central America that compares the economic contributions of recreational and commercial fishing for the same species,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, who coordinated design and methodology, management and monitoring of this research and generated information regarding U.S. anglers’ international travel activities. “We’ve completed similar work for Los Cabos, Mexico, and the results produced almost immediate benefits to fisheries management and conservation.”
                    That study found the Los Cabos area benefited by $1.1 billion to the economy.
                    Based on the success of socio-economic research in Mexico and Costa Rica, TBF already has entered into discussions with the new administration in Panama to conduct similar studies in that country.
                    Complete reports are available at: www.billfish.org
                    ###

                    About The Billfish Foundation
                    The Billfish Foundation (TBF) is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations around the world. TBF's comprehensive network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs and sportfishing businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, TBF is able to work for solutions that are good for billfish and not punitive to recreational anglers. For more information, visit www.billfish.org. TBF’s phone number is 800-438-8247.

                    About Southwick Associates
                    Southwick Associates specializes in quantifying the business-side of fish and wildlife. We help natural resource agencies & the outdoor industries understand the retail sales, economic impacts, and other benefits business and people receive from wildlife and fisheries. For more information, visit www.southwickassociates.com.

                    Contacts: Southwick Associates: Donna@southwickassociates.com
                    TBF PR Counsel: Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications, Inc.
                    Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
                    480-951-3654 (ph) 480-951-0040 (fax)
                    JohnsonCom@aol.com (e-mail)
                    Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
                    http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
                    http://jerrylabella.com

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Another sportfishing vessel attacked

                      For Immediate Release (with photos upon request)
                      Another sportfishing vessel attacked off Costa Rica
                      Helicopter drops explosive devices as Venezuela tuna seiner threatens tourists; tenth attack in past two years

                      GARZA, Costa Rica and FT. LAUDERDALE, Florida, USA --- A U.S. based world fisheries conservation association is demanding disciplinary action after the attack by a commercial Venezuelan tuna purse seining vessel and its helicopter on a sportfishing boat off the coast of Costa Rica.
                      The incident has been reported and posted with photos on The Billfish Foundation’s website billfish.org.
                      On Sunday August 1, at approximately 3 p.m. the Silver-Rod-O, a U.S. sportfishing vessel owned by TBF member Gary Carter, of Duluth, Ga., was assaulted by the Venezuelan flagged tuna purse seiner La Rosa Mistica while fishing approximately 15 miles off the coast of Garza, Costa Rica.
                      According to Carter the Silver-Rod-O was fishing around a school of spinner dolphin for yellowfin tuna and billfish, when the helicopter from La Rosa Mistica began circling the area. “We were celebrating one of our guest's first-ever sailfish release, when the seiner veered from its course and headed directly toward our boat. The helicopter then began making passes over the anglers and as the seiner came closer and began setting its net, the helicopter started dropping incendiary devises around the Silver-Rod-O and the school of spinners. “Several explosives landed within 50 meters of the boat. The purse seiner continued to power straight toward our boat,” Carter said, “It was threatening to either encircle us in their net or to plow us into the sea unless we abandoned the school of dolphin.Rather than endanger our guests, we retreated and watched and listened as the La Rosa Mistica closed the net and its crew obnoxiously celebrated its victory.”
                      TBF President Ellen Peel said, “This is the tenth vessel attacked off Costa Rica in the past two years. In June of 2008 nine vessels were similarly attacked in two incidents off of Quepos and Los Suenos.TBF has previously appealed to the Costa Rican Fisheries and Aquaculture Institute INCOPESCA (Instituto Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura) to take punitive action against these purse seine vessels, fishing in Costa Rican waters under Costa Rican licenses to no avail.
                      “I have sent a letter to the new Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla with copies to Second Vice President Luis Liberman,the Minister of Agriculture Gloria Abraham, Vice Minister of Agriculture Xinia Chaves, Minister of Tourism Carlos Ricardo Benavides and Luis Dobles President of INCOPESCA, demanding that an investigation into this incident and appropriate action against the captain and owners of La Rosa Mistica be launched immediately.
                      We are also notifying U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica Anne Slaughter Andrew of this attack,” said Peel.
                      The purse seiner is owned by Ingopesca, S.A. and registered out of the port of Callao in Venezuela. It is not known if this is one of the 30 trawling vessels expropriated from private owners by Venezuela President Hugo Chavez’s government in the spring of 2009 for use with setting up fish processing plants there.
                      Joan Vernon, TBF Board member and like Carter is a part-time resident of Costa Rica was outraged by the attack.
                      “The Costa Rican government has to do something to show these foreign seiners that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated before someone gets injured or killed out there,” she said. “Already we are hearing reports of local captains arming themselves in case of more such incidents.”
                      Costa Rica licenses many foreign purse seine vessels to fish in their national waters and land tuna to be processed in Costs Rica.
                      “It is ironic that another such assault has occurred just a few weeks before TBF formally presents the results of its study on the relative economic contribution of sports and commercial fishing in Costa Rica to government officials in San Jose,” noted TBF scientist Dr. Russell Nelson, adding “We have documented that sports fishing tourism contributes more to the Costa Rican gross national economy than commercial fishing, adding over $599 million annually, and $138 million of that comes directly from folks like Gary Carter who maintain a vessel and crew in that nation.”
                      Peel concluded, “If Costa Rica won’t address this sort of outrage and also take better care of the marine resources like sailfish and marlin that drive this economic engine, they will find people moving elsewhere and taking their money with them.”
                      She also noted within the past month another Central American nation issued a decree banning purse seining in its waters.
                      “In July, Panama’s President Ricardo Martinelliissued an executive order prohibiting purse seine vessels from fishing within the nation’s waters – a much wiser stance, one that allows commercial fishing beyond 200 miles and recreational fishing within the 200 mile zone.”
                      TBF has been working with the numerous governments worldwide – some for over a decade – for the expansion of conservation measures and laws to protect billfish, mainly from overfishing coastal fisheries by commercial interests, while implementing tag and release programs for sportsmen.
                      ###
                      About The Billfish Foundation
                      The Billfish Foundation (TBF) is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations around the world. TBF's comprehensive network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs and sportfishing businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, TBF is able to work for solutions that are good for billfish and not punitive to recreational anglers. For more information, visit www.billfish.org. TBF’s phone number is 800-438-8247.

                      8/6/2010
                      TBF PR Counsel: Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications, Inc.
                      Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
                      480-951-3654 (ph) 480-951-0040 (fax)
                      JohnsonCom@aol.com (e-mail)
                      Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
                      http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
                      http://jerrylabella.com

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        The Billfish Foundation encouraging recreational

                        For Immediate Release
                        The Billfish Foundation encouraging recreational anglers
                        and boaters to be voices in Gulf Restoration Plan

                        FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., -- As the pending Gulf Restoration Plan is being produced The Billfish Foundation is encouraging recreational anglers and boaters, especially those in the Gulf states most affected by the April 20th oil disaster, to urge the government to include the sportfishing segment in the plan.

                        Boating and the sportfishing industry employ some 300,000 individuals in the region generating an economic stimulus of $41 billion dollars annually,” said TBF President Ellen Peel. “It includes a wide array of marine related manufacturing, sales, service and diverse support and enhancement businesses ranging from artists to yacht builders and brokers. The coastal towns, individuals and the recreational fishing and boating businesses suffered significant economic losses resulting from the oil disaster. Individuals who normally enjoy the Gulf's beautiful resources have been unable to do so in light of access issues and safety concerns,” she added.
                        “If we are ever going to see positive changes in the Gulf, we must impress upon the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, who is charged with writing the Gulf Restoration Plan, the need to include recreational fishing and boating as a major segment in it. E-mails are urgently needed to be sent to the Secretary at:
                        restoreourcoast@gmail.com,” she emphasized.
                        A draft letter is included on the TBF website billfish.org for anglers to use or compose their own version. She said the critical point is to send it in now and encouraged anglers to pass it on to their friends so sportfishing and boating will be counted in the Gulf Restoration Plan.
                        The TBF letter in part reads: The recreational boating and fishing community has a long standing relationship with the offshore energy industry, for large rigs attract big fish and big fish attract anglers. Our industry is comprised of responsible users of the resources who utilize conservation compatible practices. We look forward to the day when we each can return to fishing all the waters of the Gulf, as this is a way of life that has added positive values and benefits to citizens of and visitors to the region.

                        (See TBF’s website – billfish.org - for the entire draft letter to forward to Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy who is charged with writing the Gulf Restoration Plan)






                        The failure to include a fishery management expert on the team of experts that traveled the Gulf with you for town hall meetings concerns our community for it may indicate a disregard for the recreational fishing and boating industry and each of the interests therein. We hope that you have corrected this oversight and will include our interests as a major sector in the Gulf Restoration Plan.
                        It is time for a paradigm change in the Gulf so that overfishing is not allowed to leave fish vulnerable to unexpected stresses, like the oil spill. We should strive to make the Gulf a model for a new way to safely and responsibly manage our ocean resources. Anglers want healthy fish stocks, access to resources and strong resulting economies.

                        ---------------
                        To further address the issue of overfishing, TBF recently launched a program called “Gulf Thunder” a campaign uniting strong sportfishing voices against numerous issues including outdated government fishery management strategies and the government’s bias in favor of commercial fishing gear and overfishing practices. For more on the TBF campaign please go to http://billfish.org/1206-gulf-thunder-campaign or call the TBF offices at 1-800-438-8247.
                        ###

                        9/2/2010 TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Communications,
                        Scottsdale, Ariz., USA
                        480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
                        Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
                        http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
                        http://jerrylabella.com

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          longlining restrictions within its waters

                          For Immediate Release
                          Panama is first Central American country
                          to add longlining restrictions within its waters

                          PANAMA CITY, Panama and FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., USA – After banning commercial purse seining from its waters in July, the Republic of Panama has taken further steps adding restrictions on longlining for the conservation of its marine life and its socio-economic growth.
                          In letters to Panamanian officials, Ellen Peel, President of The Billfish Foundation and Chris Fischer founder of OCEARCH, applauded the government for becoming the first of the seven Central America nations to restrict pelagic longline gear within its waters. The practice of commercial longlining in the region uses hundreds of baited hooks attached to short lengths of line spaced at intervals to main lines. The longliners target swordfish and tuna, but also hook bycatch species including sharks, turtles and recreational billfish like marlin and sailfish.
                          Panama’s Executive Decree 486 signed by President Ricardo Martinelli on Dec. 28, 2010, prohibits longline vessels of over six tons from operating within the nation’s waters.
                          “This action,” said Ms. Peel, “is the latest in a growing trend that makes Panama one of the most proactive, innovative and committed fishery managers in the world and results from the increasing influence of the collective sportfishing community.
                          “After prohibiting tuna purse seining in July the signing of these two agreements acts directly on two of the greatest sources of overfishing of marlin and tuna species while creating appropriate sustainable management plans for billfish and other popular game fish vital to growing sportfishing and tourism in the Central America region.”
                          OCEARCH’s Fischer who is also on the board of TBF said, “Through this decree the Republic of Panama becomes a global leader in the responsible management of ocean resources and a more established force in the international sportfishing tourism marketplace.”
                          In Panama, Dr. Ruben Berrocal, National Secretary of SENACYT (Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación) added, "The President's decision underscores his commitment to preserving our natural resources for future generations; and the economic and scientific benefits these measures produce are well-established. Through sustainable marine management efforts and the careful consideration of important advocacy programs to maintain our game fish--such as those supported by The Billfish Foundation--we are committed to ensure that Panama remains a world-renowned destination where commerce, science and economic productivity can live in harmony.”
                          TBF, through a 2009 agreement with the Organization of Fisheries and Aquaculture for the Isthmus of Central America (OSPESCA), developed a management plan for sportfishing in the seven nation region assisting each nation in developing appropriate national conservation goals to enhance sportfishing tourism. It includes recreational fishing monitoring and data collecting programs using TBF tags and catch reports to gather vital statistics for decision makers to better understand the dynamics of sportfishing as an important economic tool.
                          TBF has been working with the governments of Mexico, Costa Rica and Peru – some for over a decade – to protect billfish, mainly from overfishing coastal fisheries by commercial interests, while implementing tag and release programs for sportsmen.
                          Established 25 years ago, The Billfish Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated solely to conserving and enhancing billfish populations around the world. TBF's comprehensive network of members and supporters includes anglers, captains, mates, tournament directors, clubs and sportfishing businesses. By coordinating efforts and speaking with one voice, TBF is able to work for solutions that are good for billfish and not punitive to recreational anglers. Visit www.billfish.org or to reach Ms. Peel, ph. 800-438-8247, ex.108.
                          ###

                          1/13/2011
                          TBF PR counsel - Pete Johnson, Johnson Comm, Scottsdale, Ariz., USA.
                          480-951-3654 (ph) -- JohnsonCom@aol.com
                          Commercial longlining ships like this Panamanian vessel photographed off Panama will now be banned in the waters of the Central American nation, from setting hundreds of baited hooks to its lines which attract bycatch species like billfish, turtles and sharks. The recent presidential decree is a huge triumph for conservation, recreational catch-and-release sportfishing efforts and for the socio-economy of the region. (Photo courtesy of Elliott Stark, The Billfish Foundation)
                          Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
                          http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
                          http://jerrylabella.com

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            The Billfish Foundation kicks off


                            The Billfish Foundation is kicking off its 25th anniversary with a very cool membership drive and three great fishing trips to winners in three levels. Here's a short release with a logo attached announcing the "TBF Experience." Thanks for your consideration in reading and possibly using. my best, pete j.
                            For Immediate Release w/logo
                            The Billfish Foundation kicks off its TBF Experience
                            25th Anniversary membership drive features
                            three levels of billfish adventures as prizes

                            FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. USA. To celebrate its 25th anniversary, and the spirit of pelagic fisheries conservation, The Billfish Foundation has launched an exciting membership drive -- for new members and those renewing, to experience some of the best of what billfishing has to offer -- an event aptly named the TBF Experience.
                            “It may be the most exciting membership drive tool we have ever had.” said Ellen Peel who has been at the helm as TBF’s President for over 15 years. “We have three prize trips with expert captains in three of the world’s greatest billfishing destinations, and they all are fantastic.”
                            “The exciting trip giveaway and membership premium program is now up on the TBF website at http://billfish.org/sections/234-tbf-experience ” added TBF Science and Policy Specialist Elliott Stark who coordinated the event. “We have a one day trip with Bouncer Smith in Miami Fla. USA; two days fishing with Brad Philipps in Guatemala, and three days with Wade Richardson in Panama. I’m pretty excited about how this drive has turned out.”
                            Simply joining or renewing a TBF membership between now and Oct. 26, 2011, at the levels listed below, gets you in the running. If you’ve already joined TBF since Oct. 1, 2010, then you’re already entered. Here are the three levels:

                            $75—Atlantic Sailfish out of Miami Beach, Florida with Capt. Bouncer Smith
                            Members who join or renew at $75 are entered for a full day of sailfishing for two with world famous Captain Bouncer Smith on “Bouncer’s Dusky.” Captain Bouncer has won numerous TBF Top Captain Awards and is a recognized authority on live baiting and kite fishing and has fished Miami for more than 30 years. Bouncer’s website is http://captbouncer.com/

                            $250— Pacific Sailfish and Blue Marlin in Guatemala Captain Brad Philipps,
                            Joining or renewing at $250 will be entered to win a two day, three night fishing package with Captain Brad Philipps in Guatemala on the Decisive. Captain Philipps has released over 20,000 billfish. He has won innumerable TBF Top Captain Awards and is recognized around the world for his fishing skills. Brad’s website is http://www.GuatBillAdv.com/

                            $500—Black and Blue Marlin Fishing in Panama with Captain Wade Richardson
                            Members joining or renewing at $500 or higher (one chance per $500, two chances for $1,000, etc.) are entered to win a three day trip to fish out of Panama’s Pearl Islands. A winner and three guests will use live bait, bait-and-switch, and lure such fish as black and/or blue marlin, Pacific sails, big dorado, and yellowfin tuna on Richardson’s The Hooker, a trip only available through the TBF Experience. This trip includes four nights and three days accommodations at the beautiful Hacienda del Mar on San Jose Island http://haciendadelmar.net
                            Winners will be drawn in October at The Billfish Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Dinner during the Fort Lauderdale Intl. Boat Show. Trips will be scheduled for 2012. More on the trips, with photos, will appear in “In the Spread” on TBF’s website www.billfish.org For more information please visit the TBF website or contact Elliott Stark at 954-938-0150 ext. 101
                            ###
                            Pete Johnson (PR counsel for The Billfish Foundation -- billfish.org)
                            Johnson Communications, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ 85254
                            Ph: 480-951-3654; e-mail: JohnsonCom@aol.com
                            Saltwater Fishing Articles & More by Outdoor Writer Jerry LaBella
                            http://www.jerrylabella.com/forums
                            http://jerrylabella.com

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