Smooth Sailing for First Carbon-Neutral Fishing Tournament

In a first-of-its-kind event, The Sailfish Tournament at Miami Beach Marina over the weekend became the world’s first carbon-neutral fishing contest. A total of 23 boats competed in the event, with the Four Aces team proving just as unbeatable as their namesake, catching and releasing ten sailfish to take top honors. The tournament also completed its pledge to balance its carbon ledger, using a portion of the proceeds to offset its carbon footprint.

“Anglers cherish Florida’s coastal waters, and we have a responsibility to protect them,” said Captain Dan Kipnis, tournament organizer and director-at-large for the Florida Wildlife Federation, an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation. “Sportsmen know climate change threatens the fish we love and the habitats they live in. Offsetting our emissions is just one way to show we’re not going to pass the buck to the next generation of anglers.”

The tournament is offsetting an estimated 200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions through AgCert, which will use the funds for an East Coast methane capture project.

Environmental Defense, a co-sponsor of the tournament, wants to make sure the tournament’s carbon neutral message continues resonating with Florida anglers. The group has launched the Green Button Project, an innovative program offering anglers the chance to buy climate mitigation credits when they fuel their boats.

“We hope that someday every motor runs on clean, renewable energy, but until then we’re doing what we can to help boaters connect the dots and cut their own carbon footprint,” said Jerry Karnas, Florida Climate Project Director for Environmental Defense. “Considering the threats posed by warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and stronger hurricanes, the stakes for Florida are incredibly high.”

As Florida’s presidential primary draws closer, surveys suggest climate change will be on the minds of millions of anglers as they head to the polls. According to a National Wildlife Federation poll, 85 percent of sportsmen say Congress should pass legislation setting a clear national goal for reducing global warming pollution with mandatory timelines.

“With this carbon-neutral tournament and Gov. Charlie Crist’s strong climate leadership, Florida continues to set an example for the nation,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, a tournament co-sponsor whose boat finished in the event’s top ten. “I hope members of Florida’s congressional delegation support federal legislation cutting our national greenhouse gas emissions by two percent annually while also providing critical funding to help wildlife survive our rapidly changing climate.”

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