By Rusty Chinnis
sun staff writer
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is recognized by most anglers for the world records they keep and their advocacy of game fishing. The IGFA was founded by a concerned group of anglers that believed that fish species and the habitat that they depend on are not only recreational and economic assets, but also possess social and aesthetic benefits. They were determined to assure that these assets were maintained, wisely used, and perpetuated. Educating the public that sport fishing is an important recreational, economic, and social activity, and teaching them to pursue sound sporting and conservation practices are their primary goals.
When the organization was founded in 1939, its first responsibilities were to establish ethical international angling regulations, and to serve as a central processing center for world record catch data. In 1972 due to the awareness of the grave problems facing the angling world, the IGFA expanded its goal to bring anglers into closer organization and better awareness of problems facing the species and the sport.
Membership categories were established in 1973, so that individuals and fishing clubs could help to support the expanded goals of the organization. After this date the IGFA switched from private to public funding. The IGFA is an organization that all anglers should belong to, so that the association will continue to grow and be an effective representative for anglers throughout the world.
The major objectives as stated by the organization are: 1. To encourage and further the study of game fish angling, the related species, and the habitat requirements of such species. 2. To work at all levels of government and industry for the preservation of the species and the protection of their natural habitats. 3. To compile and distribute game fish information to all IGFA members, the general public, and scientific and legislative government bodies for the furtherance of education in the wise use and conservation of the species. 4. To ensure that the recreational angler is adequately represented at all meetings where the future of the game fish population and the angling sport is being determined. 5. To assist and participate in domestic and international game fish seminars and symposiums where the expertise, data and purposes of this organization may be helpful in assisting other organizations with similar objectives. 6. To develop and support game fish tagging programs and other scientific data collection efforts, and to aid scientific and educational institutions which provide vital instruction and research in ichthyology, the fishery sciences, and related studies. 7. To maintain and promote fair, uniform and ethical international angling regulations, and to compile and maintain world record data for game fish caught according to these regulations. 8. To develop and maintain an international museum and reference library on game fish, the sport of angling, and related subjects. 9. To accumulate and maintain a worldwide history of game fishing for the use and benefit of the public.
IGFA opened the IGFA World Fishing Center in 1998. The Center, a $25 million structure makes films, books, videos, memorabilia, periodicals and other data that document the history of a grand sport’s tradition available to the public.
Join today and you’ll receive the 2007 edition of World Record Game Fishes, a compilation of interesting articles, facts, and the records of freshwater, saltwater, and fly fishing. In addition, you’ll also be sent "The International Angler", a bi-monthly newsletter reporting angling activities throughout the world, a membership card, jacket patch, decals, news releases and much more. For more information and membership applications write the IGFA, The International Game Fish Association headquarters, and the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum are located at: 300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, FL 33004. Phone, (954) 927-2628; Fax, (954) 924-4299; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org