Organisers of the Annual Spice Island Billfish Tournament (SIBT) are impressed over the economic impact the tournament is having on the local economy.
The Budget Marine SIBT which will be the 45th next January was launched at a press briefing last week Wednesday at the Grenada Yacht Club.
Chairman of the Organising Committee, Richard Mc Intyre informed members of the media that an economic impact assessment study that was conducted in 2012 by Dr. Linus Spencer Thomas and Leon Charles revealed that the fishing tournament generated $2,330,31 in economic activity, and net tax revenue of $210,411 for Grenada.
Mc Intyre said everyone should view the yearly activity as a successful tourism event.
The first Budget Marine SIBT took place in 1964 and is held every year from January 27-31.
The actual date for fishing is January 28, 29 and 31 while January 30 is set-aside for the anglers to relax.
The organisers disclose that fifty boats with 250 Anglers are expected to participate in next year’s activity.
Conservation is one of the watchwords of the Budget Marine SIBT.
During this year’s tournament, over 70 Billfish were released.
Previously the fish caught used to be consumed but the organisers have now resorted to catching the fish, weighting them and then releasing some of them back into the water.
Mc Intyre said they have now seen how important their conservation efforts have been.
“Because of our conservation efforts over the years, there is one particular thing I feel worthy of note in that one of our charter captains, Garry Clifford caught a fish in the days when we used to do tag and release… and that fish was caught again in Miami (United States of America) and the captain who had Garry’s address on it said I have caught the fish that you released in Grenada, and this is what our tournament is all about”, he remarked.
Provisions are also being made for local fishermen, for the second time, to compete among themselves.
They will be able to compete in what is being dubbed as “The Grenada Parish Outboard Motor Competition.
However, the local fishermen will not be recognised for catching a Billfish that has been released locally.
They are being encouraged to catch any other specie of fish other than the Billfish. Those who have caught the most fish will be recognised.
Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited has come on board as a major sponsor as the bank’s Managing Director, Keith Johnson presented to the committee a cheque valued at $20,000.00 to assist with its expenses.
Johnson spoke of his institution’s admiration for the tournament and gave a commitment as regards the bank’s willingness to work with all stakeholders including fishermen’s organisations.
He said it is the hope that through the Marine Budget SIBT the country will benefit in much needed “tourists dollars.”
Thirty-five of the 50 boats that will be participating in the 2014 tournament are expected from Trinidad and Tobago, the head office of Republic Bank.