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March 21, 2008

Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series sets 2008 tournament schedule

The 20th annual S. C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series is just around the corner, and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources announces two new coordinators for the upcoming season, as well as the 2008 schedule and tournament information.

The S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series introduces two current S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employees who will assist with the facilitation and promotion of the tournament Series. Wallace Jenkins, program director, and Amy Dukes, tournament coordinator, began their leadership efforts for the Series in mid-January this year. Jenkins has been a biologist at DNR for many years starting as a summer intern in 1975, working his way up to a position managing red drum and striped bass stocking research. He brings a wealth of experience in fisheries research, public outreach, and grants management to the position as program director. Dukes, during her tenure as a full time biologist at DNR’s Marine Resources Research Institute, has volunteered for many years, assisting former Series Coordinator Tom DuPré during past Series tournaments. Dukes has been a biologist with DNR since 1999, and has conducted various research project associated with the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve, including fisheries and water quality research and public outreach programs. She also brings a seasoned level of experience to the tournament coordinator position.

Before the S.C. Governor’s Cup Series began in 1989, virtually all billfish caught by anglers were killed and brought back to the docks. The Series was established to promote the state’s billfish and encourage conservation of the ocean’s limited natural resources. The Series continues to actively encourage the conservation of marine resources by promoting catch and release of both billfish and other game fish. The partnership between DNR and the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series has provided an important link to the sportfishing community, and has allowed for an extremely efficient and cost-effective means for gathering important scientific data. During the 2007 Series, 179 billfish were caught and released including 32 blue marlin, seven white marlin and 140 sailfish. In 2007, only one blue marlin was landed and brought back to the docks to be weighed during Series tournaments, a significant statement that uncovers the conservation ethic that tournament participants seem to embody. The high release rate achieved during the Series tournaments will significantly contribute to the future of billfish populations. By maintaining close relationships with the sportfishing community, including boat owners, captains and anglers, data is also acquired for trips conducted not only at sanctioned tournaments but from those taking place throughout the year.

Sponsorships are the lifeblood of the S.C. Governor’s Cup Series, without them it would not be able to operate. The DNR greatly appreciates the generous support of corporate sponsor Palmetto Ford Inc., and major sponsors HMY Yacht Sales, W.W. Williams, The Charleston Angler, and Wachovia Wealth Management as well as contributions from the Advisory Board of Directors and others. The funds collected each year support the annual Series. To help support the S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series, contact Wallace Jenkins for more information.

Tournament dates and contacts for the 2008 S.C. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series are:

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.

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