The largest family-friendly saltwater fishing competition in Florida – CCA Florida STAR, presented by Yamaha – will kick-off on Saturday, May 27 and unlike traditional fishing tournaments, focuses on conservation. With up to $500,000 in prizes and scholarships, the organization is using the social media-based, 101-day event to educate the public on the importance of protecting Florida’s marine resources.
Recognized as a ‘catch, photo and release’ competition, STAR’s smart phone app eliminates the requirement for anglers to harvest or capture and transport fish. Registered anglers submit a photo of their catch on a free official measuring device via the app, directly from the boat, dock, or ramp. Once photographed, catches may be immediately released back into their natural habitat.
“Our state’s natural resources and fisheries are here for our enjoyment, and we understand that smart fishing will preserve these resources for the future,” said Brian Gorski, CCA Florida Executive Director. “The STAR event is a fantastic way to provide a fun competition with amazing prizes, protect our fish populations and generate critical data for research in the process.”
The event’s Conservation Division is designed to reward anglers that provide the most catch data on all fish caught and released, no matter what species or size. The conservation community and organizations like the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Snook and Game Fish Foundation, University of Florida and others use the data to make science-based decisions on habitat management, stock assessment and other relevant issues.
In STAR’s Signature Division, officials will release an average of four tagged redfish per coastal county throughout Florida. Registered adult anglers catching the first six tagged redfish, and using the STAR app to record their catch, are eligible for their choice of prizes including a new GMC Sierra Pickup or one of several Yamaha-powered boat packages including a Contender 22 Sport, Pathfinder 2200TRS, Maverick HPX-S, Sea Hunt 225 Ultra or the Carolina Skiff 21 Sport & Fish. Youth anglers will be eligible to participate in the tagged redfish division with the first two winners taking home a Carolina Skiff 16 JVX CC powered by a 40hp Yamaha and a Road King trailer.
“Yamaha’s sponsorship of Florida STAR further underscores our commitment to the conservation of U.S. coastal waterways and also expands our saltwater tournament support efforts,” said Dale Barnes, Yamaha Marine Group Marketing Division Manager. “This tournament is unique as it opens the field to all saltwater anglers while simultaneously working to collect scientific data that can help to rewrite the rules currently governing our coastal waters.”
A new division to the 2017 STAR event, the Costa Kick Plastic Trash Division rewards participants who gather trash and debris from waterways and submit a photo entry with the 2017 free official measuring device. As with other divisions, participants will be eligible for a random drawing at the end of the 101-days of STAR for a $500 cash prize.
Other divisions include Open, Ladies, Fly, Kayak, Lionfish and Professional Guides. Eligible species are spotted seatrout, snook, sheepshead, non-tagged redfish, cobia, dolphin (mahi mahi) and kingfish. Division winners are determined by a random drawing, a format that encourages participants of all ages to protect and conserve Florida’s fisheries for future generations. The STAR Youth Scholarship Division offers the opportunity to win one of twelve scholarships totaling $100,000. The event officially runs from May 27 (Memorial Day) to September 4 (Labor Day) at 5 p.m.
In 2016, over 5,000 anglers registered for STAR. More than 150 tagged redfish were released throughout the state’s coastal waters, with more than 20 caught and submitted via the app. For more information on STAR, or to register, visit our Facebook page or ccaflstar.com.
About CCA Florida
The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) was founded in 1977 after drastic commercial overfishing along the Texas coast decimated redfish and speckled trout populations. One of 19 state chapters, CCA Florida became the fifth state chapter in 1985. A 501(c)3 non-profit, the purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on conservation of marine resources. Through habitat restoration projects, water quality initiatives and fisheries advocacy, CCA Florida works with its over 17,000 members including recreational anglers and outdoor enthusiasts to conserve and enhance marine resources and coastal environments. Join the conversation on Facebook or learn more at ccaflorida.org.