August 1, 2016

The Blue Marlin Grand Championship: A Leader in Conservation

Orange Beach, Alabama: The Blue Marlin Grand Championship is dedicated to a vibrant, healthy marlin fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks to that strong conservation ethic, the event is announcing changes to its current set of rules for the 2017 Blue Marlin Grand Championship. The first is in the minimum length required to weigh a blue marlin. For 2017, the new minimum length will now be 106 inches, as measured from the tip of the fish's lower jaw to the fork in the tail (known as the Lower Jaw/Fork Length measurement, or LJFL). This is significant for several reasons: it's the largest minimum length for any high-profile billfish tournament on the Gulf Coast, and will ensure that only trophy-sized blue marlin are brought to the scales.

The tournament's hybrid scoring system is also being revamped. Released blue marlin will now receive 501 points per fish regardless of their size, and any marlin that are weighed will only receive one point per pound, not two as in previous years. The heaviest blue marlin weighed will still win first place but second through fourth places will be based entirely on points, whether for weighed or released blue marlin. And if no marlin meet the qualifying minimum length, the winner will be based on the team with the highest point total for released billfish.

"Over the last few years we've seen a real sea change in the marlin fishery here in the Gulf of Mexico," says tournament director Scott Burt. "Boats have gotten a lot faster and can reach more distant waters, electronics have become more effective and the live-baiting technique has allowed teams to target the biggest blue marlin out there. We want to keep the tournament fair for everyone and continue to lead the way in conservation. These changes will allow us to accomplish both of those goals."

The updated rules will be available online soon, so be sure to bookmark the tournament's website,