Miami Hosts World's First Carbon Neutral Fishing Contest

MIAMI, Florida, January 16, 2008 (ENS) – The world’s first carbon neutral fishing tournament was held over the weekend at the Miami Beach Marina. Twenty-three boats competed in the event, with the winning team catching and releasing 10 fish to take top honors in the Sailfish Tournament.

The tournament completed its pledge to balance its carbon ledger, using a portion of the proceeds to offset its carbon footprint.

“Anglers cherish Florida’s coastal waters, and we have a responsibility to protect them,” said Captain Dan Kipnis, tournament organizer and director-at-large for the Florida Wildlife Federation, an affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation.

“Sportsmen know climate change threatens the fish we love and the habitats they live in. Offsetting our emissions is just one way to show we’re not going to pass the buck to the next generation of anglers,” he said.

Releasing a sailfish in waters off Miami,
Florida (Photo courtesy Reel Style
Fishing Charters)

The tournament is offsetting an estimated 200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions through AgCert, which will use the funds for an East Coast methane capture project. Methane gas from dairy farms will be converted into electricity, balancing out the tournament’s greenhouse gas impact on the environment.

Environmental Defense, a co-sponsor of the tournament, wants to make sure the tournament’s carbon neutral message resonates with Florida anglers. The group has launched the Green Button Project, which offers anglers the chance to buy climate mitigation credits when they fuel their boats.

“We hope that someday every motor runs on clean, renewable energy, but until then we’re doing what we can to help boaters connect the dots and cut their own carbon footprint,” said Jerry Karnas, Florida Climate Project director for Environmental Defense.

“Considering the threats posed by warming temperatures, rising sea levels, and stronger hurricanes, the stakes for Florida are incredibly high,” he said.

As Florida’s presidential primary on January 29 draws closer, surveys suggest climate change will be on the minds of millions of anglers as they head to the polls.

According to a National Wildlife Federation survey, 85 percent of sportsmen say Congress should pass legislation setting a clear national goal for reducing global warming pollution with mandatory timelines.

“With this carbon-neutral tournament and Governor Charlie Crist’s strong climate leadership, Florida continues to set an example for the nation,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, a tournament co-sponsor whose boat finished in the event’s top ten.

“I hope members of Florida’s congressional delegation support federal legislation cutting our national greenhouse gas emissions by two percent annually while also providing critical funding to help wildlife survive our rapidly changing climate.”

Florida plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, Governor Charlie Crist pledged last July. Due to its low elevation and hurricane risk, global warming may pose the biggest risk to Florida of any U.S. state.

Business leaders in the United States have also called for similar cuts, a step many scientists say is necessary to head off the worst effects of climate change.

Crist hopes to reach the target by switching to renewable energy technologies – especially solar power – improving energy efficiency, and promoting fuel-sipping rather than gas-guzzling cars.

With about five percent of the world’s population, the United States produces roughly one-quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

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