NOAA launches fishing and photo contest to reconnect youth to the ‘Great Outdoors’

Event to highlight conservation and marine stewardship at NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries

June 11, 2012

kids fishing on pier.

The Sanctuary Classic is a free summer-long fishing and photo contest at all of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries to encourage families and youth to experience America’s great outdoors. 

Download here. (Credit: NOAA.)

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, in partnership with the Sportfishing Conservancy, has launched a free summer-long fishing and photo contest to encourage families and youth to experience America’s great outdoors.

The Sanctuary Classic began June 9 with kick-off events at Florida Keys and Channel Islands national marine sanctuaries and continues through Sept. 3. The free event is being held at all national marine sanctuaries.

Participants will receive information on the sanctuaries, safety, conservation and sustainable recreational fishing techniques, and be eligible for prizes from the Sportfishing Conservancy, including scholarships. As this is a photo competition, catch-and-release fishing is encouraged. You can register for the contest online.

“NOAA is committed to ensuring that Americans continue to enjoy the great tradition of saltwater fishing today and in the future,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This commitment can be seen across the agency, particularly through NOAA’s Fisheries Service and in education and outreach programs such as the Sanctuary Classic.”

Eric Schwaab.

Eric Schwaab, acting assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management, answers questions from Sanctuary Classic participants at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA.)

“As we celebrate both National Oceans Month and America’s Great Outdoors Month this June, the Sanctuary Classic highlights the national marine treasures that families across the country can enjoy,” said Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “Through President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, we are supporting community-led conservation and recreation efforts, whether they are in iconic places like these national marine sanctuaries or in local lakes. And through the President’s National Ocean Policy, our nation is managing the significant and often competing demands on our ocean and coastal resources to ensure Americans will continue to be able to use, enjoy and benefit from them for generations.”

The National Marine Sanctuary system spans more than 150,000 square miles of ocean and Great Lakes waters from the Hawaiian Islands to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. While the sanctuary program’s primary mission is to protect the nation’s critical marine ecosystems, 98 percent of all National Marine Sanctuary waters are open to activities including recreational fishing, diving, surfing and swimming.

“Being in a sanctuary is a great way to realize that a healthy ocean is vital for everyone,’’ said Daniel J. Basta, director, NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “Outdoor activities, such as recreational fishing, give children and families a way to experience nature, learn about how we are part of nature, and foster a sense of responsibility for our environment.”

Nancy Sutley.

Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, talks with kids participating in the Sanctuary Classic at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA.)

Launched by President Obama in 2010, the America’s Great Outdoors initiative seeks to cultivate stewardship and reconnect Americans, especially children, to the country’s vast and varied natural heritage. Encouraging children – tomorrow’s leaders and environmental stewards – to experience nature is also at the core of educational programming in national marine sanctuaries. NOAA encourages visitors to come and experience National Marine Sanctuaries around the country to see these important resources first hand.

Support for the Sanctuary Classic is being provided by outside organizations including the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, which provided initial funding though its Ernest F. Hollings Ocean Awareness Trust Fund.

Sanctuary Classic sponsors include NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, National Marine Fisheries Service, Anglers for Conservation, Coastal Angler Magazine, Environmental Defense Fund, Hook, Line and Sinker, Phil Friedman Outdoors, Guy Harvey, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, the International Game Fish Association, Sea Landing, Stardust Sportfishing, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation, the Sportfishing Conservancy, United Anglers, Wallace Air Cargo Group, and West Marine.

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