The Sportfishing Conservancy announced today that world-renowned gamefish artist, angler and conservationist Guy Harvey has donated $4,000 through his Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to sponsor the four scholarship awards that will culminate the summer-long 2012 Sanctuary Classic online fishing photo contest. As such, when these four $1,000 scholarships are presented to the parents or guardians of children under 18 following the event’s Labor Day conclusion, they will be named the Guy Harvey Sanctuary Classic Scholarship Awards.
Harvey himself will be among the judges, choosing from among all the photos submitted through the event’s website (www.sanctuaryclassic.org) four photos that best exemplify the following themes: Kids Fishing, Kids and Family Fishing Values, Kids in the Sanctuaries, Kids in the Outdoors and Kids Conservation. All photos of kids entered over the summer-long run of the Sanctuary Classic will be considered for these special awards, as well as for the weekly awards.
“On behalf of all partner organizations who have made this unique event possible, we are extremely grateful to Guy Harvey for his generous support and participation as a judge,” said Tom Raftican, president of The Sportfishing Conservancy. “We’re proud to name these special awards after him. Guy’s worldwide reputation as a marine artist, sport fisherman and conservationist makes him an ideal representative for the Sanctuary Classic. At its heart, this event is about encouraging families to get out and fish and develop a new appreciation for our national marine sanctuaries — and Guy’s involvement will certainly help us achieve these goals,” Raftican added.
The 2012 Sanctuary Classic was created by the Sportfishing Conservancy in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and several other national organizations, with the goal of getting more families and youth outdoors to enjoy the abundant recreational fishing opportunities in our nation’s national marine sanctuaries. This free online fishing/photo contest began with a kick-off event on two coasts June 9 and continues through September 3.
The Classic promotes conservation-focused recreational fishing opportunities in all of our nation’s marine sanctuaries, while highlighting four in particular: the Florida Keys, Channel Islands (Calif.), Monterey Bay (Calif.) and Gray’s Reef (Ga.) National Marine Sanctuaries. In addition to encouraging angling participation, the Classic provides anglers with information about the unique habitats in each of these locations and encourages the adoption of best recreational fishing practices. Participants angling in any marine sanctuary are eligible to submit photos of their catches via the tournament web site and winners will be selected each week.
Weekly winners (based on website votes) will receive $100 gift certificates, with the four scholarship award winners to be judged from all entries. The use of photo submissions — rather than fish brought back to the dock — helps encourage and promote catch-and-release fishing during the tournament, a key technique to preserve marine life in the sanctuaries.
The National Marine Sanctuary System spans over 150,000 square miles of ocean and Great Lakes waters from the Hawaiian Islands to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. While the sanctuary program’s primary mission is to protect the nation’s critical marine ecosystems, 98 percent of all sanctuary waters are open to activities including recreational fishing, diving, surfing and swimming.
Additional support for the Classic is being provided by national and local partners including the National Marine Sanctuaries Foundation, which provided initial funding though the Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund and West Marine.