Kayaking the shallows of Shell Key Preserve near St. Pete Beach, our group of 11 is being shadowed by some very determined cormorants. The black water birds with jade-green eyes paddle only a few feet …
Nova Southeastern University & Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts Present Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival
Event Combines Fishing, Conservation, Research & Marine Science Scholarships
FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – What do you get when you combine world-class fishing, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and world-renowned conservationist and artist Guy Harvey? A one-of-a-kind marine conservation festival and tournament in the Florida Keys!
NSU is proud to be part of the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, to be held in the sportfishing capital of the world – Islamorada – in the Florida Keys. The three-day event is scheduled for June 16-19 2016, with management provided by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts. Formerly named the Fort Lauderdale Billfish Tournament, the event has been moved to the historic Islander Resort for 2016, a Guy Harvey Outpost destination in Islamorada.
The event will include a premier, not-for-profit fishing tournament; innovative art exhibits featuring recycled materials, conservation organization displays and local vendors, all showcased in a 100 tent “Conchservation Village; cyber on-the-water release documentation for research using the IGHOfish App; and watersport demonstrations and competitions.
While there will be a fishing tournament as part of the event, like other Guy Harvey Outpost Bonfire series events, there is much more to the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival. Community engagement is at the heart of the weekend’s activities. The event will also aid in raising funds for marine sciences scholarships at the NSU’ Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, which is home to the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center.
“Once again NSU and Guy Harvey are teaming up to help today’s students become tomorrow’s marine researchers and scientists,” said Richard Dodge, Ph.D., Dean of NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. “We have a long-standing relationship with Dr. Harvey, and I am continually amazed at how much he wants to help students follow their dreams. This tournament promises to be fun, while at the same time continuing to add to Dr. Harvey’s legacy at NSU.”
The Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, managed by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, has targeted a fundraising goal of $100,000. NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, home to the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), the Center of Excellence in Coral Reef Ecosystem Research and the Save Our Seas Shark Centre, will administer scholarship funds donated through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF).
“This will be an event as much as a fishing tournament,” said Mark Ellert, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts. “Like our other Bonfire series tournaments in the Bahamas, community engagement is a key and we have planned quite a weekend of activities that will stage an innovative ‘Conchservation’ Village to highlight ‘trash-to-treasure’ art exhibits and conservation efforts in the Florida Keys, live music, a trivia event and beach and wastersport competitions, a Rum Village and Kids Pier Fishing Tournament, fishing seminars and our traditional burning sculpture bonfire—this time a 15’ mako shark design beachside at the Islander Resort.”
The bonfire sculptures themselves have a conservation theme given that they are created out of recycled metal by various local artists. Each sculpture is designed with a specific fish species unique to each destination. Well known Islamorada artist Pasta Pantaleo will design the Blazing Mako sculpture for the tournament and festival. Pantaleo, recognized around the world as a gamefish artist, operates a popular gallery, Pasta Pantaleo’s Signature Gallery, at mile marker 81.5.
The Blazing Mako tournament, named for NSU’s mascot — the mako shark — will encompass an inshore and offshore division. Corporate team registration (offshore) for the non-profit tournament is $5,000 per team (six anglers). Inshore registration is also available for $2,500 (three anglers). Larger boats (26’ and up) will be accommodated by the Post Card Inn Marina and smaller (25’ or less) by the Islander Bayside Townhomes. Internationally renowned sculptor Kent Ullberg, who designed the mako sculpture at the NSU main campus, has been commissioned to create a similarly designed perpetual trophy for the tournament.
Ellert said more than 100 vendor tents will be onsite along with fishing seminars provided by professional and local guides, and free downloads of the iGHOFish app powered by iAngler that will allow anglers to log their catches, which can be used a valuable information for fisheries management. In the case of the Blazing Mako tournament, the IGHOFish app will be used in documenting inshore and billfish catches along with photos and measurement before releasing the catches.
For more information on the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival please visit www.blazingmako.com