The principle objectives for which the Trinidad and Tobago Game Fishing Association is formed are to encourage the development of fishing as a sport; to assist in the conservation of marine resources, to co-operate with other organizations with similar objectives; to assist in the dissemination of knowledge in marine and fishing matters; to promote; legislation for conservation of piscatorial and other maritime affairs and to promote all such causes as are incidental or conducive to the above objectives
The Trinidad and Tobago Game Fishing Association was formed on the 22nd October 1986 by two groups, sport fishermen and marine environmentalists. Our first elected president was Commander Jack Williams. Our membership is now over 150 anglers. We are also affiliated with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA).
TheAssociation took over the running of the NP International Game Fishing Tournament in Tobago and is now called the TTGFA MARLIN MADNESS Tournament, which is our largest international event. This tournament generally attracts participants from Europe, USA, Canada and throughout the Caribbean islands. Entrants may include Prime Ministers, government ministers and renowned sport fishermen. Fish weighed in at this tournament are sold at a nominal fee to Tobago fish processors who in turn market this fish for profit. We also purchase bait from the Tobago fish processors. It is conservatively estimated that, with direct and indirect expenses, this tournament earns an estimated $3M for Tobago.
Tournaments held in Trinidad include the Wahoo Tournament, the Kingfish Tournament and the Tarpon Tournament. There is also a special tournament for children called the Junior Fish Tournament which is held early in the summer holidays and attracts approximately 100 children who fish in 22 of our members’ boats. These children are taught fishing techniques which include safety at sea. In all of our two day (weekend) fishing tournaments, the first days catch is completely donated by the sponsors to charities.
Although there has been much recent publicity with our 2008 TTGFA MARLIN MADNESS Fishing Tournament due to the world record breaking 890lb Blue Marlin caught by 15 year old junior angler, Sean Mendonca, many of our members and their boats participate in other very prestigious international tournaments abroad in such places as Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas USVI, Venezuela and Mexico. Such members include Steven Valdez and his team “Braveheart”, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at the International Game Fish Association/ Rolex tournament challenge in Mexico (the most prestigious tournament in the world) in 2006. Alan Fitzwilliam and his team "Houdini" will represent Trinidad and Tobago along with team "Charge Up" in the IGFA tournament in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in May 2008.
Our conservation activities included pioneering the tag-and-release format of all the Billfishes (Blue Marlin, White Marlin and Sailfish) in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean tournaments, this release format is now a standard in all tournaments. We also built an artificial reef on the North Coast of Trinidad consisting of 25 derelict busses to re-build fish stocks and were an integral part of the team which formulated new trawler regulations in Trinidad which assists in the sustainability of our fish stocks. Additionally, our Association works in close collaboration with the Fisheries Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources, who attend all tournaments, to procure fish statistics.
Our Association was represented at the United Nations in 1990 on an anti – “large scale pelagic driftnet” campaign which culminated with a UN ban on such vessels. As a result of this and other conservation activities one of our members was honored with an individual Conservationist of the Year Award from IGFA and in 1991 was honored with an award for Individual of Year from the Billfish Foundation.