Membership IGFTO has observers from Florida to Texas to California and 16 other states and 5 other countries.
Tournament Participation Since our inception 6 years ago, the IGFTO has witnessed the release of 23,952 billfish and incurred more than $710,000 of personal expense in order to observe and conserve the species for future generations.
• In the first 5 tournaments in 2016, observers witnessed the release of 6,747 in the Dominican Public, Costa Rica and Florida.
• In 2015, observers witnessed the release of 7,127 billfish, including 6,666 sailfish, 309 blue marlin, 147 white marlin, 1 black marlin, 2 striped marlin and 2 spearfish.
• In 2014, observers witnessed the release of 7,724 billfish, incuding 7,077 sailfish; 384 blue marlin; 258 white marlin, 3 striped marlin, 1 striped marlin and 1 black marlin while observing in 18 tournaments in 8 countries in the Caribbean, US Virgin Islands, Central America and the United States.
• In 2013, IGFTO members participated in 10 catch & release tournaments in 6 countries. During that year, observers witnessed the safe release of 3,387 billfish of which 207 were blue marlin, 122 white marlin, 5 striped marlin and 3,050 sailfish.
• In 2012, IGFTO members participated in 13 catch & release tournaments in 7 countries. During that year, observers witnessed the safe release of 2,454 billfish of which 254 were blue marlin, 197 white marlin, 3 black marlin, 9 striped marlin and 1,994 sailfish. • In 2011, IGFTO members participated in 10 catch & release tournaments in 7 countries. this year, observers witnessed the safe release of 1,273 billfish of which 203 were blue marlin, 278 white marlin, 7 striped marlin, 1 spearfish and 784 sailfish.
• In 2010 and the last four months of 2009, IGFTO members participated in 10 catch & release tournaments in 7 countries and observers witnessed the safe release of 1,987 billfish.
International Tournament Directors recognize the importance of tag and release venues and the IGFTO anticipates participation in at least 16 tournaments in 2015.
• IGFTO donated $2,500 to The Billfish Foundation in 2015 as a Community Sponsor.
• The Internal Revenue Service approved the application by International Game Fish Tournament Observers for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, designating IGFTO a public charity organization. Contributions are tax-deductible.
• IGFTO observers Steve Hargett - licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain, veteran and avid sports fisherman - and Greg Moore - former Florida Marine Partol Officer, Navy veteran and avid sports fisherman - were appointed as observer coordinators to assist tournaments using IGFTO observers. Steve will oversee all participating tournaments in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Aruba and the July Open in St. Thomas. Greg will oversee participating tournaments in Florida, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Atlantic Blue Marlin "Boy Scout" Tournament in St. Thomas.
• IGFTO upgraded its website to promote the organization's mission and to increase the communication among observers and tournament directors. Prospective IGFTO observers may apply online.
• IGFTO donated $600 to The Billfish Foundation for its youth and education programs in the name of Bob Malerba, co-founder and architect of the IGFTO organization, who died on Memorial Day 2011.
• IGFTO observers attended The Billfish Foundation's annual gala and fund-raiser in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and attended the IGFA's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies.
In the Past: • IGFTO Observers have participated in 63 International Billfish Tournaments in 11 Countries (USA, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Turks & Caicos, USVI, Aruba, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, El Salvador and Guatemala.)
Our future plans for 2015, include: • Expanding membership of trained observers and increasing IGFTO observer presence in international billfish tournaments. •Launching an effort to convert existing “kill" tournaments venues to a tag & release format. •Attracting corporate sponsors to support the IGFTO mission of promoting the preservation of game fish during international billfish tournaments. •Attaining recognition as a sponsor of international game fish & billfish tournament. •Revising marketing brochures and banners for distribution at tournaments, boat shows and other events. •Developing an IGFTO observer written test application for experienced anglers and captains. •Creating a continuing education test for IGFTO observers.
International Game Fish Tournament Observers (IGFTO) is a federally tax-exempt charitable organziation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is registered with the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations as a Domestic Non-Profit Corporation. IGFTO P.O. Box 123 Bristol, RI 02809-0123