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IGFA launches pioneering Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign

by IGFA 13 Jun 2023 17:20 UTC
IGFA launches pioneering Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign © Scott Kerrigan / Aquapaparazzi.com

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA), a global leader in game fish conservation, is proud to announce the launch of its Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign, an ambitious initiative focused on ensuring the future of these iconic species.

The unparalleled initiative will provide long-term funding solutions that support studies that augment data on billfish biology and ecology, implement international management measures to improve billfish abundance and enhance recreational fisheries to promote sustainable sporting opportunities and economic growth.

Backed by a generous planned gift of approximately $1.3 million and a matching gift of $1 million, the campaign aims to raise an additional $1 million. This collaborative endeavor will initially result in a robust $3.3 million endowment dedicated solely to billfish research and conservation that will be added to and grow over time.

Comprised of nine dynamic species of marlin, sailfish, and spearfish, billfish provide both significant recreational and economic value on a global scale. In addition to playing a crucial role in the balance of marine ecosystems worldwide, estimates show that in the Caribbean region alone the annual expenditure for billfish anglers reaches as much as $3.5 billion. Despite their vast economic and ecological importance, billfish populations have been severely depleted, necessitating an urgent call to action. The Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign will address these issues by establishing a dedicated fund that can grow in perpetuity and ensure a sustainable future for billfish stocks worldwide.

Given the vast migratory range of billfish stocks across the globe, the IGFA recognizes that efforts must be coordinated on an international scale. Upheld by a venerable legacy of leading billfish conservation efforts, including spearheading the Billfish Conservation Act and the IGFA Great Marlin Race, the IGFA is poised to pilot this initiative and ensure that billfish are properly studied and conserved for generations to come.

"As one of the most iconic and recognizable game fish, a world without billfish seems unfathomable to recreational anglers," said IGFA Chairman, Roy Cronacher. "They have been at the heart of the IGFA since our inception in 1939, and the launch of the Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign symbolizes our unwavering commitment to these species. We're not only aiming to ensure the longevity of billfish but also safeguard the sport we love and the oceans we depend on, creating a future where every angler can continue to experience the thrill of a lifetime."

Specific projects planned for the IGFA Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment will include:

  • Enhancing research on billfish movement and habitat utilization through the IGFA Great Marlin Race.
  • Funding socio-economic studies that quantify billfish angler participation and economic contribution at regional levels.
  • Working with other credible, like-minded organizations on initiatives that advance our knowledge of billfish biology and ecology for their long-term sustainability.
  • Evaluating new satellite tagging technologies that will become the next generation of marine telemetry research tools.
  • Capitalizing on the wealth of data being collected by the IGFA Great Marlin Race to develop high-profile research publications that better verify commercial billfish catch data reporting.
  • Funding studies on billfish life history parameters such as age and growth, which are critical elements for accurate stock assessments.
  • Engaging with other NGOs at major Regional Fisheries Management Organizations to develop strategic coalitions and campaigns aimed at achieving meaningful measures that will rebuild billfish stocks.

To learn more about the IGFA Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign, visit igfa.org/igfa-billfish-endowment.

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