Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation Donates $50,000 To Florida Youth Conservation Centers

September 6, 2012

Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation check presentation (left-to-right) FWC Commissioner Charles Roberts; FWC Commissioner Aliese Priddy; FWC Commissioner Richard Corbett,  Antonio Fins, Executive Director of Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation; Steve Stock, President of Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey, Inc; FWC Chairman Kenneth Wright;  FWC Vice-Chairman Kathy Barco; FWC Commissioner Brian Yablonski; FWC Commissioner Ronald Bergeron; WFF Exec. Dir. Brett Boston

TAMPA, FL—SEPTEMBER 6, 2012— The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation today furthered its commitment to marine education efforts in the Sunshine State with a $50,000 donation to the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCNN).

The FYCCN is a non-profit partnership between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Working with 85 partner organizations, FYCNN has served more than 120,000 Florida youths in the past three fiscal years by connecting them with traditional outdoor activities. The Guy Harvey organization’s donation will provide seed funding to establish 10 permanent summer camps for youths to introduce them to saltwater environment education, saltwater fishing, kayaking and other conservation-related activities.

Steve Stock, president of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey, Inc., said the FYCNN was made possible by monies raised this year through a partnership with the Florida Lottery. Guy Harvey’s artwork and merchandise, including apparel, have long been among the most recognizable and popular brand. In March of this year, The Florida Lottery launched the GUY HARVEY® Scratch-Off game, featuring a series of six colorful wildlife illustrations. The game distributed 12 million $2 tickets in just five months, making it one of the most successful scratch-off games in the 25-year history of the Florida Lottery.

The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey, Inc., are committed to investing lottery game proceeds in marine conservation and education programs across Florida. The funding of the FYCCN is a major step toward achieving that goal.

“By supporting these youth conservation centers we are directly meeting our mission objectives to fund both inspired scientific research and innovative education programs to encourage conservation and best management practices for sustainable marine environments,” said Dr. Harvey.  “Helping our children develop a conservation ethic through a strong personal connection with nature is essential for   the future of the state’s natural resources.”

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New Guy Harvey Dog Collars and Leashes Now Available!

August 26, 2012


GoFISHn.com: “Guy Harvey Fights Back Against Attacks Over Killing Fish”

August 10, 2012

NOTE: The following editorial was originally posted to the popular fishing blog, “GoFISHn.com“:

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past decade, you’ve probably heard of Guy Harvey. His paintings, tee-shirts and artwork representing our favorite marine species are almost unavoidable. Some people, though, it appears view him as a hypocrite, catching and killing the very species that provide the inspiration for his life’s work.

Harvey responded passionately to such accusations recently, defining himself as a passionate angler and conservationist both, which we all aspire to be. On his website, he definitively stated his position, and his passion:

“Please know that first and foremost I am a life-long angler who loves nothing more than spending a day on the water in pursuit of big fish. It’s my passion and my profession, and I live it practically every day of the year. I am also a dedicated conservationist – I believe that we must fish responsibly and ensure the health of fish stocks throughout the world.”

Would-be accusers of the marine artist might note that he has, over the years, contributed vast sums of money to conservation-based groups that work to preserve and protect our beloved sport. He has been a vocal supporter of shark conservation, in particular, and practicing catch-and-release while fishing for the ocean’s voracious predators. But, he came under some heat after his daughter caught a notable, record swordfish, and a picture surfaced of her next to the fish hanging from the docks.

There aren’t many recreational fishermen out there who haven’t kept a fish or two- Rick Bach


Bonefishing Blog Weighs in on Killing Sharks for Sport

August 9, 2012

NOTE: The following editorial was published on the blog “Bonefish on the Brain“: 

I get an email from Field and Stream and the subject includes “587 Pound NY Thresher Shark.”

I like Thresher Sharks. They look kind of cool with the extra long tail. There is even a Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project outfit.

I had a feeling I wouldn’t like what I would see, but I open the email anyway and this is what I saw…

I am not a fan of killing sharks just for the sake of killing sharks. In fact, I’m pretty firmly in the “don’t do that shit” camp. Sharks are a pretty key part of the ecosystem out there, top predators usually are, and taking them out of the system just so you can get this picture makes me a bit pissed.  Thresher sharks don’t kill people, although I did read about someone that may have been killed by the tail of one of these sharks as they were pulling it in a boat somewhere.  There was zero cause to kill the thing.

I think most fly fisherman would likely NOT have killed the beast, but the non-fly Field & Stream subscribers likely would and that is why they presented it front and center in the email. I hope more of the C&R ethic can make its way into the bait and kill crowd, but I don’t know how that will happen.

I applaud the Shark Free Marina Initiative effort for trying to get there.

These are American Bison skulls… killed for fun, driving the Bison to the brink of extinction.


Guy Harvey Donates To Scholarship Awards

August 6, 2012

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.


An Open Letter from Guy Harvey

August 3, 2012

Fellow anglers, divers and boaters,

It has come to my attention that that there is some concern, particularly among anglers in the northeast US, about my allegiance to the sport fishing community. Please know that first and foremost I am a life-long angler who loves nothing more than spending a day on the water in pursuit of big fish. It’s my passion and my profession, and I live it practically every day of the year. I am also a dedicated conservationist – I believe that we must fish responsibly and ensure the health of fish stocks throughout the world.

In an effort to broaden the message of responsible fishing, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) has supported, collaborated and partnered with many organizations over the past four years, including the Shark Free Marina Initiative (SFMI). Sharks are in serious trouble in the US and around the world. However, I am not advocating for a ban on all shark fishing. My position has always been for all anglers to take a responsible, conservation-minded approach to sharks – before you legally harvest a shark, simply consider what you are doing and why you are doing it.

The shark free/friendly concept was initiated to educate and make people aware of the severe pressures being put upon sharks populations around the globe. In the past several years, we have seen many shark tournaments – particularly in Florida – go to an all-release format, which makes for responsible fishing since most of the species of sharks caught in tournaments are traditionally not good table fare.

In contrast, the iconic mako shark is considered fair game in the northeast US, as are tunas and swordfish above federal size limits. Catch and release shark tournaments in this area with high minimum qualifying weights are well organized and have shark conservation measures at heart, as do the partial release billfish tournaments in the mid-Atlantic, which I have proudly supported for over two decades.

In addition, in the US and around the world there are areas of local abundance of species where anglers can legally harvest these species in a sustainable way, even though elsewhere in the world that species may be considered rare or overexploited. This practice is fine with me. I am all about sustainability in sport fishing and commercial fishing, as well as in spearfishing and diving. However, there are many anglers who are not concerned about sustainability and that is cause for concern.

Much of the recent criticism directed my way has stemmed from the role of the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) within the SFMI organization, and alleged ties to PETA and the PEW Environment Group (PEG). I have difficulty in accommodating the role of the HSUS in the sport fishing arena. Other than encouraging catch and release where possible, I see no reason for this organization to exert any influence in sport fishing. I have an even stronger opinion of PETA, which is just too extreme to even get my attention.

As for Pew, I am not aligned with them personally, nor have I supported them during my 20-year tenure as a board member of the IGFA. The one instance in which I worked alongside PEG was in a successful effort to prevent the archipelago of the Bahamas – which was home to the last bastion of sharks in the western Atlantic – from being scoured of sharks by impending commercial interests. The GHOF’s collaborative effort with PEG and the Bahamas National Trust worked, and it prevented the wholesale slaughter of species by people who don’t give a damn.

I also support shark interactive programs and have patronized many such programs in different countries. These interactions with otherwise shy, elusive creatures are inspiring, educational and very entertaining – all without killing a single animal. In addition, the socio-economic value of these interactive sites is immense to the host countries. Only days ago, I returned from a shoot in Isla Mujeres, Mexico where for 60 days each summer thousands of whale sharks gather to feed on plankton blooms and fish spawn. This interaction pumps millions of dollars into the Mexican economy each summer. If this phenomenon occurred in the Orient, then I am certain the harpoon boats would be racing the snorkelers to the sites every day.

Another issue I have difficulty accepting is proposed MPAs based on nothing other than whims of people who want to get rid of sport fishing. These proposed areas, which are closed to sport fishing, typically do not go through a scientific analysis to tell us all about the inventory of species or the estimated biomass from which a regulated harvest could be managed. However, specific time and area closures for certain species at certain times of year do work well. It is ludicrous to allow any harvest of any animal when it is reproducing, so closure of reef fish (snapper and grouper) spawning aggregations during their respective spawning times is a good management practice, as we have seen in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands.

There are many issues facing recreational anglers and many of us have conflicting opinions on how to apply solutions that best benefit the fisheries. Not everyone is going to agree with me on every issue. However, please don’t underestimate my dedication and commitment to the sport fishing community – along with AFTCO, I put back approximately 10 percent of all royalties generated by my art into fishery research and educational programs around the world.

I want to remind my fan base – as well as all of the naysayers – that I love fishing and I love to cook and eat the fish that I catch. I do fish responsibly – I release all billfish and undersized wahoo, tuna or dolphin that I catch. But, a nice bull dolphin, yellowfin or blackfin is going in the cooler! Swordfish are also fair game – in the tournaments we have in Cayman the small ones are released and the big ones are taken. In fact, we just landed a 600 pound plus swordfish on July 22 in Mexico. Not a scrap was wasted!

Tight lines and good luck.

Guy Harvey PhD.


Fish of a Lifetime!

July 29, 2012

On July 22nd, Guy’s 22-year old daughter Jessica caught a 600+ lb. swordfish while on a Guy Harvey Expedition off Isla Mujeres, Mexico. After returning home to Grand Cayman, Guy filed this first-hand account of the catch:

I was on my third shoot this year with the Guy Harvey Expeditions team to film a documentary about the marine life off the Yucatan Peninsula. The expedition team, which included award-winning producer George Schellenger and Capt. Anthony Mendillo of “Keen M Sportfishing”, was based out of Isla Mujeres in the province of Quintana Roo, Mexico – a prime location to reach the big animals that congregate off the coast of this tiny island where the Gulf of Mexico meets the western Caribbean Sea.

The GHE team had been to Isla Mujeres twice this year – first in January to fish and dive with sailfish aggregations, and then again in March to study the mako population in the region. On each trip, the team utilized Pop up Archival Tags (PATs) to track the fish – 12 sails, 3 makos – in an effort to document their migratory paths after they leave the Yucatan.

For our third trip, we returned in July for whale shark season along with the thousands of snorkelers who flock to the region to swim with the docile monster fish who come to the area to gorge on fish eggs and plankton just a few miles offshore. The whale sharks gather in the area for about 60 days each year – sometimes numbering just a dozen or so, though at times as many as five hundred spread over a square mile of ocean. The socio economic benefit of these marine interactions is enormous. Close encounters with otherwise rarely seen oceanic nomads brings a lot of money to the region – it is a highly sustainable activity which is well regulated by Mexican authorities.

My daughter Jessica, who has just graduated from Edinburgh University in Scotland with honors in Zoology, joined the team for this expedition and was thrilled to be spending so much time in the water photographing whale sharks. There were so many that often two or three of the thirty foot long animals would fill the frame.

After filming the whale sharks for three consecutive days, we decided to do some swordfishing on the last day of the expedition. Capt. Anthony took us out on the 48 foot Cabo “Chachalaca” so we could hit a few spots offshore where he deep drops Florida-style for swordfish in 1,400 to 1,800 feet of water. We were not fishing IGFA rules – we were using 100# braided nylon line with a 200# topshot 100 feet long to the leader. We weren’t looking for a record – we just wanted to catch one on rod and reel!

Dropping the squid bait, with light and heavy weight a hundred feet from the hook, Capt. Anthony kept the boat moving into the current at 3 knots while 1,500 feet below the bait was actually moving north at 1 knot in a 4 knot current.

Just after 10:00AM on the first drift, Jessica got a bite and the rod tip began bouncing as the line starting flying off the reel.  Capt. Anthony spun the boat around and began to chase after the fish. He already had a big smile on his face – he knew from 15 years of swordfishing that this was a good sized fish! Jessica worked hard on the fish and after an hour it came to the surface with a single massive jump, leaving all on board speechless. Mate Ruben yelled, “500 plus!!!”, and Capt. Anthony nodded in agreement.

We got close to the big swordfish, which was swimming just beneath the surface. Mate Gallo grabbed at the leader for a technical catch. However, the swordfish was still fresh and it spurted away with great sweeps of its tail and line dumped off the reel. Jessica shrieked in exasperation as she watched all of her hard work melt off the spool in a few seconds as the great fish sounded. Capt. Anthony yelled words of encouragement from the bridge, “Jessica, take your time, this is the fish of a lifetime.”

Jessica kept heavy pressure on the fish and cruised past the 2 hour mark when again the leader came up on the rod as the great fish was swimming just below the surface. As before, Gallo had the leader to hand but the swordfish turned on the after burner and paddled off into the deep as if the fight was just beginning. Tired and sore at this point, Jessica redoubled her efforts while Capt. Anthony instructed her to put on more drag while keeping pressure on the reel with her gloved left hand. After nearly an hour, the added pressure worked and Jessica finally got the swordfish to the surface.

The crew went to work quickly, securing the fish as we marveled at its size. It took six men to slide the 14 foot long fish into the boat, and the bill protruded through the cabin doorway into the salon when they closed the transom door. Jessica gulped some water and Capt. Anthony popped the cork on a bottle of champagne as the celebration started.

Back at the dock, the giant fish was swum across to the public beach by willing hands where an expectant crowd helped to pull the fish up on the wooden gantry. Hundreds of locals gathered to take photos with the fish. After 30 minutes the fish was taken down, measurements were made and then Capt. Anthony and crew cleaned the fish. The crew weighed the meat, backbone, head and fins, which totaled 590 pounds. With the loss of blood, body fluids and scraps, it was estimated that the 14 foot swordfish was easily in the 620 pound range! The meat was shared amongst crew, family and friends – not a scrap was wasted (local fisherman even carried off the fins, head and backbone to make fish soup).

Once back home, I contacted the IGFA to ask about other large swordfish catches by lady anglers. The last catch of a swordfish over 600 pounds was a 772 pound fish caught by Mrs. Lou Marron in 1954 in Chile. So, apart from being an Isla Mujeres record, Jessica’s catch is probably a record swordfish for the Caribbean coast of Mexico on rod and reel.

Congratulations to Capt. Anthony Mendillo, his crew and to Jessica for catching the fish of a lifetime!

Guy Harvey PhD.