S.I.G.F.A celebrates milestone

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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Sia, Isadora, Lufi and Measina enjoying themselves at the celebration.

Sia, Isadora, Lufi and Measina enjoying themselves at the celebration.

The Samoa International Game Fishing Association (S.I.G.F.A) celebrated its 20th anniversary on Friday night at the Marina’s S.I.G.F.A clubhouse.

The Association’s President, Kevin Kohlhase, said the celebration was to honour S.I.G.F.A’s partnership with their sponsors and to show their appreciation for the support.

Bruce Wayne, Tyrone Lam and Gus Leilua.

Bruce Wayne, Tyrone Lam and Gus Leilua.

 “We want to show them that we appreciate their support and that we are thankful for the partnership that we have” Mr. Kohlhase said. 

“We want the sponsors to be more involved because this year will be a big tournament seeing that it’s our 20th international tournament. We do not see it as a donation but rather it is an investment into sports tourism and to our wider fishing communities.”

S.I.G.F.A hosts annual game fishing tournaments. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi played a key role in driving the tournaments over the years.

Patrick Rasmussen, Saena, Kevin Kohlhase, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Magele Arthur Penn.

Patrick Rasmussen, Saena, Kevin Kohlhase, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Magele Arthur Penn.

“This started in 1996 by very keen fishermen with the help at the time of Tuilaepa who pushed for the game fishing sport,” Mr. Kohlhase said 

 “Eight years ago, with the support and vision of some very dedicated members, we invited boats from Gibson New Zealand to fish our international tournament. This has led to an influx of anglers shipping their boats over annually since.

Bruce Wayne, Tyrone Lam and Gus Leilua.
Bruce Wayne, Tyrone Lam and Gus Leilua.
Patrick Rasmussen, Saena, Kevin Kohlhase, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Magele Arthur Penn.
Patrick Rasmussen, Saena, Kevin Kohlhase, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, Magele Arthur Penn.
Vernon Wetzell, Michael Rasmussen and Richard Wetzell.
Vernon Wetzell, Michael Rasmussen and Richard Wetzell.

 “S.I.G.F.A is not just a fishing association that brings people together for game fishing but we also support sports tourism in Samoa. We inject $800,000tala - $1,000,000tala into our economy every year every time we host two short weeks of tournament through shipping, accommodation, meals, fuel and airfares.”

These numbers have changed S.I.G.F.A’s mission statement.

Vernon Wetzell, Michael Rasmussen and Richard Wetzell.

Vernon Wetzell, Michael Rasmussen and Richard Wetzell.

“SI.G.F.A’s mission statement states that we are here to promote the sport of game fishing, I believe that this is no longer applicable,” Mr. Kohlhase said

“Over the years, we have not only promoted game fishing but we have and will continue to promote Samoa as an awesome tourism destination.”

S.I.G.F.A is a non-profitable organization who relies heavily on their sponsors support and a game fishing competition is not cheap to run.

The tournaments usually need about $200,000tala to $300,000tala to run smoothly.

But S.I.G.F.A always finds a way to give back to the community

“Some of the fish caught during the tournament is given to our sponsors but most of it is donated to the sisters of the poor.

“We also deploy Fish Aggregating Devices (F.A.D) which is a man-made object used to attract fish which not only benefits the anglers during the tournament but also all the local fisherman in Samoa throughout the year.”

This year’s tournament is scheduled to kick off on 23 April 2016.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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