Organizations We Support | Focus on Marine
From the very beginning, our tournament founders felt a strong commitment to not only highlight the phenomenal, and often overlooked, fishing off Virginia Beach, but to also create an event that gives back to the community. Then and now they believe that the future belongs to our children and it’s our responsibility to conserve our marine resources for them.
Each year during the tournament you have an opportunity to donate to the Virginia Beach Billfish Foundation (VBBF) which supports these organizations. Look for the “Gift From the Heart” booth under the big tent.
In addition to our commitment to youth organizations including An Achievable Dream Academy, the Boys and Girls Clubs, Stop Abuse and the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. program, we feel that the fate of our sportfishing traditions are closely intertwined with the health and viability of our oceans and the fish they harbor. To that end we support two organizations that work tirelessly to protect and maintain these resources for the generations to come – the Recreational Fishing Alliance and The Billfish Foundation.
To date we have donated over $610,000 to support these organizations.
The Billfish Foundation
The Billfish Foundation (TBF) was founded in 1986 with a mission of conserving billfish worldwide by the late Winthrop P. Rockefeller along with Tim Choate, Dr. Eric Prince and a group of fifty founding members. It’s initial focus was on research and education.
In 1990, TBF’s focus was expanded to include advocacy for responsible fisheries management, recognizing that influencing decision makers with sound science was a crucial step in successful billfish conservation. At the same time it started the volunteer tagging program which has become not only the foundation’s keystone program, but has also grown to be the largest international billfish tagging program in the world.
The Billfish Foundation is recognized globally and has continued to distinguish itself from other fish conservation organizations through sustained emphasis on synthesizing science and policy into effective, yet reasonable, fishery management solutions—solutions that are good for the fish but not punitive to recreational anglers.
Recreational Fishing Alliance
Incorporated in 1996 as a 501(c)(4) national, grassroots political action organization, the Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA) represents recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues on every coast, with state chapters established to spearhead the regional issues while building local support.
At the same time anti-fishing groups and showroom environmentalists are pushing their agenda on marine fisheries issues the RFA is battling back, lobbying decision makers to ensure that the interests of America’s coastal anglers are being heard loud and clear.
“The biggest challenge we face is the fight to reform and bring common sense and sound science into the fisheries management process, says James Donofrio, RFA founder and Executive Director. “As individuals, our concerns will simply not be heard; but as a united group, we can and do stand up to anyone who threatens the sport we enjoy so much – fishing!”
After more than seventeen years working inside the Beltway and within state capitols along the coast, RFA has become known as one of the nation’s most respected lobbying organizations, and our members have a lot to celebrate.