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Seychelles fishing tournament ‘Heineken Slam’ underway, first Billfish Release Cup up for grabs

Victoria, Seychelles | June 28, 2014, Saturday @ 09:22 in National » SPORT | By: Sharon Uranie and Grant Heyer | Views: 2471
Seychelles fishing tournament ‘Heineken Slam’ underway, first Billfish Release Cup up for grabs

A group of friends having a good time at sea on Special K(Winning Team)..during The Heineken Fishing Tournament 2013 (Faizal Yakub Suleman, SSFC Facebook)

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - Anglers woke up and departed the main Seychelles island of Mahé in the early hours of this morning to kick-off the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club’s (SSFC) Heineken Slam and the first ever Seychelles Billfish Release Challenge organized by SSFC and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).  

In what always proves to be one of the most challenging tournaments on the sports fishing calendar, all teams are in search of the coveted Slam which consists of catching a wahoo, yellowfin tuna and dorado.

"You only have to find these 3 species and you may have the tournament won but year after year this has proven not to be as easy as it may seem," said SSFC Secretary, Grant Heyer.

Last year, ‘Team Special K’ returned to Marine Charter with the only Slam and was the SSFC Heineken Slam champion while ‘Team Blue Moon’ was Runner-Up.

This year's SSFC Heineken Slam will also prove to be a milestone tournament within SSFC and Seychelles. In addition to Heineken supporting this event for the last 4 years, SSFC is also teaming up with World Wide Fund for Nature and The Billfish Foundation to begin the "tag and release" programme which will increase the opportunities to gather scientific data for the billfish species that are in Seychelles waters and the surrounding Indian Ocean region. 

It is in an effort to reinforce its conservation message that SSFC has teamed up with WWF to get the anglers to participate in the inaugural Billfish Release Challenge. 

In order to prepare everyone for the tag and release program, SSFC held training sessions over the past 2 weeks to educate anglers on "How to Tag a Billfish."To qualify to be Billfish Release Winner, all teams must "tag and release" all billfish (such as blue marlins, sailfish and swordfish) caught in the tournament and present a video of the tag and release for verification to capture their points.

In addition to releasing billfish, a minimum weight limit of 5kg is required for yellowfin tuna and wahoo to encourage anglers to release undersized fish.

 "The beginning of the tag and release program for SSFC has been a top priority and it is great to see it finally it begin," said SSFC Chairman Tarak Patel.

"We will not see results immediately but with continued tagging efforts from our members and sports fishermen in Seychelles, we will learn where the fish in Seychelles waters go after they are captured.

When we have a recapture of a Seychelles tagged billfish, we will look back on this tournament as where it all began."

Sports fishing fans will be gathering at the Marine Charter in the Seychelles capital of Victoria as from 3.00pm local time when the boats will start coming in with their catch.

All teams will have to be at Marine Charter by 5pm to weigh-in their catch which will be followed by the prize giving ceremony.

 

Billfish release trophy (SSFC) Photo license: Attribution

 

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Tags: Heineken Slam, Seychelles Sports Fishing Club

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