Lack of interest causes fishing tourney cancellation

The Presidential Challenge sports fishing tournament planned for later this month in Golfito has been canceled.

That was announced Wednesday by the Presidential Challenge Charitable Foundation, Inc. Joan Vernon, in her role as tournament coordinator said that a lack of interest in participation has made it economically impossible to continue with this year’s event. She also is secretary of The Billfish Foundation, which promotes sports fishing.

This would have been the first time that the tournament boats would sail from Golfito, the former banana port. The tournament was not for the weekend angler.

The entry fee was $5,000 a team, but there are dedicated fishing participants who follow the string of tournaments throughout the year.

Ms. Vernon in her email message promoted the next Costa Rica fishing event, the Presidential Papagayo Cup June 5 to 8 in Marina Papagayo in northwest Costa Rica.

Proceeds from the Presidential Challenge events benefit The Billfish Foundation’s Central American and Caribbean conservation projects as well as the Adopt-A-Billfish Satellite Tagging Program and the International Game Fish Association, the foundation has said.

What could not be determined immediately is if the location, the U.S. economy or lack of promotion caused the cancelation of the Golfito tournament. Two marinas there were going to participate as well as local hotels. Each tournament can bring in several hundred tourists who either fish or support those who do, so the benefit to Golfito would have been significant.

A tournament in Quepos Feb, 19 to 22 attracted 11 boats.  All the tournaments are catch-and-release.   Presidential Challenge said that 399 sailfish and two blue marlin were caught and released. It said that the average fish count per boat was comparable to other record breaking tournaments this year in Costa Rica.

Some Pacific coast sports fishing boat captains have complained about the impact of commercial operations on the ocean population.

These are primarily long-line operators who spread hooks out for miles and indiscriminately catch all sorts of marine creatures.

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