The Budget Marine Spice Isle Bill Fish Tournament is recognised as a premier sporting event and as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019 and known as the longest running tournament in the Southern Caribbean.
Over the years, the competition has drawn anglers from all over the world and the 2019 season will be no different, as 65 to 70 boats are expected in Grenada.
This was revealed at the official launch of the tournament at the Grenada Yacht Club on Port Highway, St. George.
The 2019 tournament will run from January 21-25 and the local aspect of it will be held on January 18.
As the organisers look back at 50 years of sports fishing, Chairperson of the tournament, Richard McIntyre reflected on some of the changes that have taken place in the competition which began in 1964.
He said: “The location was at GYS and it was a 100% Kill tournament – everything that was caught was killed. In fact, in order to achieve results…we had to use a calculator to be able to calculate the scores. Thank God we only had 15, 18, 20 boats at the time because there was a method by which the scores were tabulated and it had to be multiplied, and divided by the species of fish…but we have moved on from that.
“What was noticeable about that period, the boats were so much smaller and the fish were being killed in alarming quantities. We moved from that stage into actually what was called
“Tag and Release” where we felt, yes, we would tag the fish and release them. Many years after, there were fish that were tagged in the tournament and in Grenada waters that was actually caught in Miami and this is what we mean about sustainable conservation,” he added.
The 50th anniversary of the tournament brings with it a record $500,000.00 cash prize for anyone who catches a 1000 pound fish.
MC Intyre said: “…Tobago has been the only country in the Southern Caribbean to have caught a fish in any tournament of a 1000 pounds plus. The Tourism Authority got involved, they made a replica of the fish and it’s known worldwide. We have been able to get a company here, Massy United to participate in the actual record prize…if somebody catches a fish that is 1000 pounds, it would have broken the existing record…and once they satisfy all the requirements, they will be paid EC $500, 000”.
The Billfish Tournament is receiving full support from the Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) and Chairman of the Authority, Brenda Hood said the organisers have a lot to be thankful for having successfully run a competition for 50 years.
For approximately nine years, Budget Marine Grenada has been the titled sponsor for the event and General Manager Nicholas George said the company believes that the tournament was the best fit and “wanted to align ourselves with a tournament that really paid attention to details and shows how an event should be run.”