Catch-and-release anglers and conservationists; you asked for it and you got it. The International Game Fish Association has added a new 100% release category to its world records section beginning in 2011.
Based on length rather than weight, the new IGFA's All-Tackle Length Record category will make 60 freshwater and 67 saltwater species eligible for new world records while requiring the fish to be returned to the water alive after measurement. With 127 new world record vacancies becoming available on January 1, the IGFA's World Records office is expecting a flurry of competition for new titles in the New Year.
"The new All-Tackle Length record category is another great means of recognizing angler achievement and also has a strong conservation message," said IGFA World Records Coordinator Jack Vitek. "While the IGFA does not require a fish to be killed for traditional weight category records, and many fish are indeed released alive, this is the first IGFA record category to adopt an all-release format."
Vitek added that with no need to return to the docks to weigh a catch, anglers pursuing a length record will utilize a standard measuring device (now available online at www.igfa.org and soon through several major fishing tackle retailers) to record the length of their catch. According to the official IGFA Rules and Requirements for All-Tackle Length Records, the fish "must be measured at the site of capture and released so that it swims away on its own and in good condition."
To facilitate healthy release, the document also includes tips on best release practices and prohibits fish entered for length records from also being submitted for traditional weight records; another deterrent from keeping the fish out of the water any longer than necessary.
"Catch and release fishing is becoming increasingly popular worldwide," stated IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser. "We know recreational anglers are passionate about conservation, and this new record category reflects their dedication to conserving game fish."
The new IGFA All-Tackle Length record category will begin accepting applications on January 1. The Official IGFA Measuring device is now available for sale through the IGFA's website and look for more information on rules, requirements and eligible species of the newly added category to be featured in the upcoming 2011 World Record Game Fishes book sent to members in January.