The 2007 Series will feature five tournaments along the coast beginning May 9 at Edisto Marina and finish up July 25 at Bohicket Marina. Boats participating in the Series earn points for billfish landed, tagged or released. Anglers compete for three major awards: Outstanding Billfish, Outstanding Billfish Boat and Outstanding Billfish Conservationist.
The South Carolina Governor's Cup Advisory Board and the Tournament Committee met last week and unanimously approved a 110-inch minimum size limit for blue marlin being weighed in. Currently, the federal size limit for blue marlin is 99 inches.
Points awarded for billfish releases have also been modified by the Governor's Cup Advisory Board. Points earned for white marlin releases will change from 150 to 200 points. Blue marlin releases will increase from 300 to 600 points. Points earned for sailfish released will remain the same for the upcoming season, at 100 points.
For more information on the South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series, contact Tom DuPré of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources via e-mail: email@example.com or visit the web site at www.dnr.sc.gov/etc/govcup/govcup.html.
Changes have also been rendered for Atlantic highly migratory fish set forth by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, billfish tournament participants in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Caribbean who use natural bait or natural bait and artificial lure combinations will be limited to using only circle hooks. This new regulation is part of a larger rule finalized this week by NOAA Fisheries Service for the conservation of Atlantic highly migratory species-billfish, tunas, swordfish and sharks.
Tournament participants who use artificial baits not in combination with natural baits may continue using the traditional J-style fishing hooks since there is a high survival rate for fish that are caught and thrown back using this fishing method.
Tournament dates and contacts for the upcoming 2007 19th Annual South Carolina Governor's Cup Billfishing Series are: May 9-12 Edisto Marina Billfish Tournament, contact: Deidre Menefee, 19 Forde Row, Charleston, SC 29412, (843) 345-0369, Fax 406-4813, firstname.lastname@example.org; May 23-26 40th Annual Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament, contact: Ricky Ferdon, PO Box 1704, Georgetown, SC 29442, (843) 546-1776, Fax 546-7832, email@example.com, www.georgetownlandingmarina.com; June 27-30 Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Billfish Tournament, contact: Deidre Menefee, 19 Forde Row, Charleston, SC 29412, (843) 345-0369, Fax 406-4813, firstname.lastname@example.org; July 11-14 HMY/Viking Megadock Billfishing Tournament, contact: K.C. Rennie, PO Box 759, Charleston, SC 29402, (843) 278-4914, Fax 577-7704, email@example.com; July 25-28 Bohicket Marina Invitational Billfish Tournament, contact Deidre Menefee, 19 Forde Row, Charleston, SC 29412, (843) 345-0369, Fax 406-4813, firstname.lastname@example.org.