|Catch & Release Fishing competitions to focus on sustainability at Africa Marine & Leisure Expo
Published: 18 July 2013
On Saturday, 3 August, the highly anticipated new look and feel Africa Marine & Leisure Expo returns to the Scottburgh area, bringing with it two exciting catch and release fishing competitions. The expo has been designed by UGU South Coast Tourism as a celebration of the ocean, and of the many different user groups whose lifestyles and livelihoods are equally shaped by the sea. The primary aim of the event, which will run from Saturday, 3 to Sunday, 4 August on the beaches in and around Scottburgh, is to highlight the value of the ocean as a resource and therefore to promote the conservation of the marine environment.
The two fishing competitions incorporated into the expo’s programme are consequently intended to underline the South Coast’s reputation as an angling hotspot, while simultaneously demonstrating and encouraging sustainable fishing methods. Fishing, both commercially and from a tourism perspective is one of the most lucrative marine industries, and yet needs to be done responsibly if our seas are to be conserved for future generations.
“The Africa Marine & Leisure Expo is a direct result of local tourism operators passion for responsible tourism and sustainable tourism. It is therefore natural for the twin goals for sport diving and fishing respectively to support our passion for the environment and this will ensure that both tourists and locals can benefit from events with elements such as ‘catch and release’ fishing competitions,” said UGU South Coast Tourism CEO, Michael Bertram
The first angling event, to be held on Saturday, 3 August will be a Catch & Release Deep Sea Fishing Competition. Participants will meet at the Pennington Club House at 19:00 on the evening before for a briefing, and will then launch the next morning at launch sites between Umkomaas and Hibberdene. Lines will be in the water at first light, and the competition will be based on species take rather than size. Therefore the team that catches the most species will take first prize. All fish must be photographed and released, and teams should be back at Scottburgh main beach for the prize-giving by 17:00. Podium placed teams will win cash prizes, with R6000 going to the winning team, and R3000 and R1000 for second and third place, respectively. The entrance fee for this event will be R150 before Thursday, 25 July or R300 thereafter.
The second competition of the expo will take place on Sunday, 4 August and is geared towards the event’s younger visitors. Titled the Family Fun Junior Catch & Release Shore Fishing Competition, event organiser Dean Pretorius says that “the object of this event is fun, and to teach kids the correct handling of fish and instil in them a catch and release ethic at an early age”. Registration will take place at 07:00 in the Marine Expo Tent on Scottburgh Back Beach, and will begin at 08:30. Children will then have two hours to catch what they can, with all species and sizes counting as long as they are handled and released successfully. Parents may assist their children in baiting, throwing, unhooking and releasing their catches, and there will be a prize-giving session held for this event at 11:30. First place will win a cash prize of R2000, while runners-up will receive fishing product prize hampers. The maximum age for this competition is 12 years old, since older children must be in possession of a valid fishing licence, and entrance fees will be priced at R20.
The 2013 Africa Marine & Leisure Expo will be an extravaganza of marine-based entertainment, and promises to be a weekend of fun for the whole family. Along with the fishing competitions, the event will also offer spectacles such as the KwaZulu-Natal Bodyboarding Championships, and the PowerPlay Surf Pro. There will be representatives from water users of all kinds from all over the South Coast, including dive charters, ocean excursion operators and angling charters.