A fun new fishing and photo tournament, beginning Saturday and running through the summer, encourages and celebrates fishing inside National Marine Sanctuaries nationwide, including the Channel Islands and Monterey Bay, the Florida Keys and Gray’s Reef in Georgia, although photos taken in any National Marine Sanctuary will qualify.
The best part is that the tournament is geared toward kids and families, paying tribute to the importance of kids learning about the outdoors and sustainable resources, families recreating together and the value of a freshly caught fish dinner. Prizes and scholarships are available.
Here is how you can participate:
The Sanctuary Classic actually contains two contests — both photo. For weekly contest take photo in the sanctuary, register once and then submit online at www.sanctuaryclassic.org. All photos submitted by Monday at noon each week will be posted by noon Tuesday. Ten photos receiving the highest number of votes each week (one to a customer) win $100 gift certificate.
How do you get votes? Get family, friends to register online then vote for your photo. Submission of a photo for the weekly contest also enters it into summer-long contest for four $1,000 scholarships.
The winning photographs for the scholarship are the four that best show all or a combination of Kids Fishing, Kids and Family Values, Kids in the Outdoors, Kids in the Sanctuaries and Kids’ Conservation.
The Sanctuary Classic runs from Saturday to Sept. 3 (Labor Day). Catch and release is encouraged, but taking a fish home for dinner is legal and acceptable. There is no entry fee.
The event will begin with a fishing outing from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to the Channel Islands, during which participants will learn about responsible fishing, and catch and release techniques. Meet at Sea Landing at the Santa Barbara Harbor, 301 W. Cabrillo Blvd.
Chris Mobley, superintendent of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, offered these thoughts on NOAA’s commitment to and support of recreational fishing in general and the Sanctuary Classic in particular: ”NOAA is committed to policies that ensure Americans continue to enjoy the great tradition of saltwater recreational fishing today and in the future. This commitment can be seen across the agency, in particular in programs and activities supported by NOAA Fisheries and in the National Marine Sanctuary System. I am very excited about this summer’s Sanctuary Classic, which is a celebration of saltwater recreational fishing as one of the quality recreational experiences to be found in our national marine sanctuaries.
“We understand that fishermen around the country have made sacrifices in the name of conservation and are looking for opportunities to fish sustainably. Recreational fishing is permitted in 98 percent of National Marine Sanctuary waters. It is an important part of the social and community fabric of our nation and is a large economic driver locally, regionally and nationally. NOAA supports sustainable, high-quality sportfishing in our oceans, including national marine sanctuaries, and is working to develop programming to this effect.
“The Sanctuary Classic demonstrates the administration’s commitment to work collaboratively with partners to expand recreation and tourism opportunities. Key features of the Classic, such as the photo contest and scholarship awards, are quite innovative and should help to encourage sustainable family recreation.
“We want people to visit and enjoy their national marine sanctuaries.
NOAA is committed to the vision of the America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, which endeavors to reconnect Americans with the natural world for the health of our children, our environment and our economy. National Marine Sanctuaries help invigorate the economy, generating more than $4 billion in annual revenue from diverse activities like ocean recreation, tourism and commercial fishing, and supporting approximately 50,000 jobs across the sanctuary system.”
— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help.