Family-friendly, conservation-minded STAR Tournament highlights angling in Florida

Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON (August 20, 2018) – Saltwater fishing is a dynamic and exhilarating experience. Whether casting from shore into the pounding surf, silently poling among the mangroves, or trolling in cobalt-blue waters offshore, anglers enjoy a staggering array of opportunities to test their equipment and their mettle against some of the most powerful fish in the world.

While seemingly vast and unspoiled, many saltwater ecosystems, and the fish that inhabit them, are in peril. Decades of overexploitation, coupled with environmental degradation and the impacts of a warming climate, have combined to stress coastal and offshore fisheries to levels never encountered before. To counteract this trend, conservation-minded anglers have united themselves to preserve and strengthen saltwater fisheries, led by organizations like the Coastal Conservation Association and supported in part by LIVETARGET.

Leiza Fitzgerald from the Coastal Conservation Association STAR Director – Florida notes that, “we are a statewide, non-profit marine organization dedicated to marine fisheries conservation, education and advocacy. Comprised of 30 local chapters from Pensacola to Key West, we support significant habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives, resource-based law enforcement, access to the resource for recreational fishing, and strong and fairly-balanced fishery regulations to protect state and federal fish stocks.” CCA Florida is one of 17 state chapters of the Coastal Conservation Association.

Fitzgerald adds that, “one of our most popular ways to engage with saltwater anglers across the state of Florida is our signature event, the STAR competition.” This 101-day long fishing event, offering over $500,000 in prizes distributed over a large number of divisions, is the largest family-friendly saltwater fishing competition in the state. “STAR is unlike any other fishing tournament,” notes Fitzgerald, “in that we approach the event primarily from the standpoint of conservation and education. We use social media and other digital resources to educate the public on the importance of protecting Florida’s marine resources. Moreover, the STAR competition is a catch-photo-release event, making use of an exclusive smartphone app that eliminates the need for participants to harvest or transport fish.”

“Our goal is to engage as many anglers as possible in STAR, especially young anglers, who represent the future of our sport,” stated Fitzgerald. New Tide Members, CCA Florida members between the ages of 6 and 17, enjoy free registration for the STAR competition. The Youth Scholarship Division, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, offers the opportunity to win one of twelve scholarships totaling $100,000. In addition, the first two youth anglers who catch a tagged redfish in the STAR competition’s signature division win Carolina Skiff 16JVX CC boats, complete with Yamaha motors, Humminbird electronics, Minn Kota trolling motors and trailers.

“We are proud to continue our support for CCA Florida and the STAR tournament,” remarked Vic Cook of LIVETARGET. “The work that CCA does to administer the event, and to engage a tremendous number of participants, plays an important role in educating Florida anglers about critical resource and habitat issues. We especially appreciate the large number of ways that anglers can participate – by catching specially tagged redfish, by entering catches of any fish in the STAR competition’s Conservation Division, or even by collecting seaside garbage in the Trash Division. More ways to participate and win means more people who will cast a line into Florida’s coastal waters and enjoy this tremendous resource.”