Stuart Sailfish Club

Conservation for Future Generations

by Capt. Bob Pelosi and Ed Killer

When the Stuart Sailfish Club was first chartered in 1941, its leaders were blessed with an incredible gift of foresight. Somehow they knew that no matter how good the fishing was then, that during the following few decades, many seemingly plentiful fishery stocks would be pushed to the brink of collapse.

The modernization of commercial fishing methods combined with the everrising demand for fish in our food supply provided a serious threat to several stocks. Pollution, freshwater runoff in coastal zones, habitat destruction in our estuaries, and impacts on water quality all contributed to a downward turn in the collective catch ratios of recreational anglers. In South Florida, the population boom along the coast also has resulted in huge influx of anglers putting pressure on these same fish stocks.

Looking back over 60-plus years of all this, Stuart Sailfish Club members should be proud of their founders’ progressive philosophy. It all started with the conservation of sailfish – the beautiful, leaping specimen that we all now think of exclusively as a sporting gamefish. The Stuart Sailfish Club had a lot to do with that mindset, adopting and promoting an “all-release” ethic as early as the 1940’s. Prior to that, dead sailfish were proudly hung on the board by successful crews along with grouper, dolphin, kingfish, and amberjack.

After the 2005 Light Tackle Tournament, the Stuart Sailfish Club announced that only circle hooks would be used in future tournaments to further conserve sailfish. This was prior to the National Marine Fisheries Service mandate that all tournaments require circle hooks after January 1, 2007. Other local tournaments and the Treasure Coast Championship soon followed the Sailfish Club’s lead to use circle hooks prior to the mandate.

Over the years, the Stuart Sailfish Club was looked to for leadership on many other conservation issues as they relate to the offshore angler. Artificial reef building was
something that the group understood in the early 1970’s and undertook with an eager attitude.

Following is a list of conservation organizations that the Stuart Sailfish Club supports, either through membership, by paying annual dues, or through donations:

Links:

Coastal Conservation Association

Florida Oceanographic Society

Martin County Conservation Alliance

Recreational Fishing Alliance 

The Billfish Foundation 

The Riverkeeper

Environmental Studies Center

International Game Fish Association

International Light Tackle Tournament Assoc.

National Coalition for Marine Conservation 

St. Lucie River Initiative 

Martin County Artificial Reef Foundation

Treasure Coast Wildlife Hospital

In keeping with community support of important and worthy causes, the Club also made contributions to M.I.S.S. (Mothers and Infants Striving for Success) and the Port Salerno Elementary School.

 
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