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International Game Fish Association's Billfish endowment reaches $775,000 milestone within 3 months

by IGFA 17 Sep 2023 20:25 UTC
International Game Fish Association © IGFA

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is thrilled to announce a groundbreaking milestone in its recently-announced Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign.

Just three months after the endowment's announcement, the campaign has already secured its first $500,000 in cash backed by the unwavering support of 14 donors. As a result of this astounding progress, the endowment will officially go into action beginning in October 2023 with a $1 million base. Additional match pledges received raise the total to more than $775,000 by September 2026, a testament to the remarkable dedication of billfish enthusiasts worldwide to safeguard these iconic species.

The IGFA's Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment Campaign is an unparalleled initiative designed to ensure the future of billfish by providing long-term funding solutions. These solutions will 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. Upon the initial announcement of the Endowment, prominent billfish researchers voiced their praise for the need of a dedicated funding instrument to study billfish.

"Billfish have long been the 'poor cousins' with regard to the funding of research on pelagic fishes. So, a dedicated endowment to be used in perpetuity only for research and conservation of billfish is great news indeed. It will help coordinate and synergize current and future research efforts on billfish around the globe, at the same time value-adding by attracting additional funding from a variety of sources," said international billfish expert Dr. Julian Pepperell. "The IGFA and the Endowment Founders are to be congratulated for their foresight and vision in our ongoing understanding and conservation of the great billfishes of the world."

The IGFA Billfish Research and Conservation Endowment will support crucial projects that focus on enhancing research, conservation, and management measures for billfish worldwide. Projects include pioneering studies on billfish movement and habitat utilization, socio-economic analyses of angler participation and economic contributions, and the evaluation of cutting-edge satellite tagging technologies for marine telemetry research.

Renowned billfish researcher and Stanford University professor Dr. Barbara Block stated, "The IGFA's fund raising for a billfish endowment in support of research that garners new knowledge ensures billfish's future in a complex ocean with international fisheries. We support using the tools of modern science inclusive of electronic tagging, genomics to ensure the future of these great game fish."

Noted conservationist and marine wildlife artist Dr. Guy Harvey further added, "The IGFA continues to be a leader in financing and organizing the research of billfish species around the world. The main limitation in getting more archival tags out, and for longer deployments, is the lack of funding. Now is the time to invest in expanding our collective knowledge, and in the conservation, of this unique group of pelagic fishes."

Since 1939, the IGFA has been at the forefront of conservation initiatives such as the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 and the IGFA Great Marlin Race. Building on this venerable legacy, the IGFA is determined to lead this unprecedented endowment campaign, mobilizing resources and expertise on an international scale to ensure the well-being of billfish populations everywhere.

"Today, we stand in awe of the remarkable progress we have achieved in such a short time. This milestone reflects the shared commitment of 14 donors and billfish enthusiasts worldwide, who understand the urgency of protecting these iconic game fish," said IGFA Chairman, Roy Cronacher. "As the base of our endowment prepares to reach $1,000,000, we are empowered to make a profound impact on billfish research and conservation efforts, which will help ensure a bright future for billfish."

With a solid foundation now in place, the IGFA is urging billfish enthusiasts considering the opportunity to be a part of this transformative legacy to join the cause. Backed by a generous planned gift of approximately $1.3 million and a matching gift of $1 million, the campaign 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.

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

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