International Gamefish Association
The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) is a not-for-profit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making and record keeping.
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LETTER FROM THE IGFA PRESIDENT, ROB KRAMER
Dear IGFA Members,
In February of 2011, the IGFA completed the most comprehensive membership study in its history. The IGFA's conservation and education efforts clearly ranked as the most important function of the IGFA. While this is not to say that the IGFA's role as world record keeper, historian and rule maker for our sport is not important to our members, it does reflect the common belief that we have to do more to protect our game fish and encourage the next generation of anglers to get involved in the sport.
On a recent visit to the IGFA E. K. Harry Library of Fishes I saw that these priorities – the goals of anglers like you – are not so different than the priorities set nearly 70 years ago by the IGFA's forefathers. Upon reviewing copies of the 1945-1967 IGFA Articles and By-Laws, I discovered this list of our organizational purposes:
• TO encourage the study of game fishes for the sake of whatever pleasure, information, or benefit
it may provide.
• TO keep the sport of game fishing ethical, and to make its rules acceptable to the majority of anglers.
• TO encourage this sport both as a recreation and as a potential source of scientific
data, and to place such data at the disposal of as many human beings as possible.
• TO keep an attested and up to date chart of World Record Catches.
Each one of these purposes is as important and relevant today as it was in 1945 – not only to the IGFA, but to the continued survival and growth of our sport. No matter where I travel around the world, it becomes more and more obvious that the recreational fishing sector will need reliable and credible scientific data on both its benefits and impacts if it is to survive the threats it is receiving from other competing sectors and man-made influences on our fisheries.
One thing that has changed since those goals were set is the size of the recreational fishing community. From an estimated few thousand anglers to over 100 million worldwide, the sport of fishing now supports hundreds of thousands of jobs and provides millions of dollars for gamefish conservation. It is often said that as any business grows, it is prudent to have a plan and strategy in place to guide and focus that growth. The IGFA is no exception. With the addition of several new Board members and the election of a new Chairman last January, the IGFA has heeded this advice and formed a Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) to provide guidance into the future. This Committee is tasked with the development of a long-range strategic business plan for the organization utilizing the information obtained through the comprehensive membership study.
In tune with the findings - which are your angling priorities - the IGFA has significantly increased its leadership role around the world in game fish conservation and education in recent years. Much of this effort involves data collection and dissemination. Through generous donations of financial resources and personal time, our members and supporters are providing us with the necessary capital to invest in technology. This technology is then applied in our research and education efforts, allowing us to begin such ambitious projects as the IGFA Great Marlin Race and providing youth education in remote areas of the world through the IGFA Junior Angler program.
So, a special thanks to our many members and contributors for helping us realize the goals of the IGFA's founding fathers. Their vision is guiding us to protect the sport we so love, and with the support of anglers like you we will help ensure a vibrant fishery for many generations to come.