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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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.


FWC Decides Not to Reopen September 1st Snook Season on Florida’s West Coast

June 29, 2012

Catch & release still permitted during closure

NOTE: This story was posted today on TampabayOnline.com by Special Correspondent Frank Sergeant

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission ruled this week that the snook fishing season will remain closed on the state’s west coast, rather than reopening Sept. 1 as scheduled.

The season has been closed due to a 2010 cold-kill, which wiped out tens of thousands of fish from Clearwater to Naples.

“This is a wise move,” said snook guide Scott Moore of Holmes Beach. “I’m seeing big fish and a few slot (keeper-sized) fish, but no little fish — we’re missing whole-year classes due to the winter kill, and we need to get more in the pipeline before we start taking them again.”

The continued closure also was supported by the Coastal Conservation Association, which said that the number of adult snook on the west coast was down 20 percent after the freeze, and the numbers of juvenile fish killed was probably much greater.

The season will reopen Sept. 1, 2013, if the commission takes no further action.

Catch-and-release fishing for snook is permitted during the closure.


Giant Great White Feeds on Blue Shark Off Australia Coast

May 29, 2012

It’s not everyday that you see an 8-foot blue shark bitten in half in one bite! A group of anglers fishing off Bondi Beach in Australia captured that scene and more as they filmed an 18-foot great white attacking the blue shark, which was tied to the side of their boat. The video shows the awesome size and power of the white shark, including some incredible close up footage of the shark’s massive jaws as it devours the entire blue. (NOTE: Please don’t ever “pet” a great white on the snout as one of these guys does at the 2:00 mark – especially while it’s eating another shark!).


3rd Annual Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Kicks Off May 4th In Punta Gorda, FL

April 24, 2012

Portion of the tournament’s proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project 

The kickoff of the third edition of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge is rapidly approaching! The Next Generation Shark Release Tournament takes place May 4-6 at the Lashley Crab House in Punta Gorda, FL. In addition to broadcasting all the shark fishing action on a stadium-sized digital display, the Saturday and Sunday festival will feature Mote Marine Laboratory‘s Mobile Aquarium, the Ultimate Shark Challenge Interactive Learning Experience, the world’s largest collection of JAWS movie props and memorabilia, fishing seminars, shark tooth hunts and more!

This year, the GHUSC will be supporting our brave veteran’s by donating a portion of the tournament’s proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project. Guy and GHUSC creators Sean and Brooks Paxton proudly welcome the teams of military veterans that are registered to fish the tournament!

Watch Guy’s promo video for this year’s GHUSC:


Guy Harvey-Sponsored All-Release Tournaments Partnering to Cross-Promote, Spread Message

March 25, 2012

Creators of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival and Organizers of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament have announced plans to strengthen and share their commitment to conservation by cross-promoting their common missions and messages to the general public, press and media. The Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival takes place in Punta Gorda’s downtown waterfront at Laishley Crab House at Laishley Park May 4 th – 6 th followed by the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament in Boca Grande May 17th and 18th and the Downtown Tarpon Festival May 19th and 20th.

Both all-release tournaments feature exciting and innovative high-stakes competitions that also place an emphasis on best practices when it comes to the post-release welfare of their respective target species; sharks and tarpon. The common ground between the two events is clear when looking at the USC’s established mission to, “Combine the Goals of Sport, Science and Conservation” alongside the WRTT’s new message of, “Conservation, Education and Sportsmanship”. Strategic alliances include Mote Marine Laboratory and Mote Center for Shark Research, Guy Harvey Enterprises and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The event’s respective festivals are free to the public and offer a host of family-friendly fun, excitement, entertainment and education.

Without a doubt, the main attraction at both events are the fishing tournaments, which also share boundaries within the same storied fishing grounds of Boca Grande Pass, Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. While their marquis species are indeed very different, event organizers are quick to point out that, “Sharks and tarpon have been coexisting here for millions of years and that their symbiotic relationship is a matter of essential mutual benefit to a healthy marine and coastal environment. In many ways, that relationship is a great metaphor for why we’re collaborating with our events.”

USC Creators, Sean & Brooks Paxton add that, “We’re extremely fortunate to have this uniquely diverse environmental playground right here in our backyard. The area offers so many choices for not only boaters and recreational anglers, but anyone interested in an endless list of eco and adventure-based activities on land and sea. There really is something for everyone. We’re proud of that and feel a responsibility to protect and conserve these natural assets while promoting the region, the people and the businesses that rely upon and support them. We do that by leveraging purposeful entertainment that also educates and inspires people.”

Lew Hastings, Executive Director at the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce and Tournament Director of the WRTT explains, “My goal is to strengthen and promote the financial growth and well being of the local businesses in order to sustain a healthy community. We see the constant threat of damage and destruction to the natural beauty and wildlife habitats that surround us and recognize that they can not and should not be looked upon as a cost of doing business. Exploitation of natural resources in the name of progress and financial gain leaves us all a great deal poorer in the end. The significant economic and environmental impact recreational fishing has on our communities, make conservation for a sustainable fishery not only preferable but necessary. Education and conservation of the fishery combined with sport fishing will be the primary focus. Safe boating, sportsmanship and responsible angling will be promoted in order to encourage a safe, successful family friendly atmosphere that will inspire everyone to engage in the protection and proper stewardship of our natural resources so that they may be enjoyed for generations to come.”