For Immediate Release - February 15, 2013

Massachusetts Honors Commonwealth’s Top Saltwater Anglers

BOSTON – Friday, February 15, 2013 – Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin and Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) Director Paul Diodati presented trophies to 33 winners of the Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Derby at the New England Fishing & Outdoor Expo at the DCU Center in Worcester on Sunday, February 10th.

"Massachusetts offers fantastic fishing opportunities in our coastal waters for anglers of all ages and abilities," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan. "We're pleased to honor these outstanding anglers for their remarkable catches."

In the 2012 Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Derby, there were 189 entries from six different states, and 33 anglers were awarded trophies. Notable catches include a 53-pound, 10-ounce striped bass caught by Jacques Boisvert of Acushnet; a 7-pound, 2-ounce black sea bass caught by David Medeiros of Fall River; an 11-pound, 12-ounce fluke caught by Damon Bullok of Taunton; and a 10-pound, 12-ounce fluke caught by Sarah DeMelo of New Bedford.

The "Skillful Skipper" award, presented to a for-hire captain who has the most derby-winning fish caught on their boat, went to Captain Dave Niemi of Plymouth for the second year in a row.

“These awards highlight the fantastic fishing opportunities Massachusetts offers and we hope they encourage young people and adults to get out and enjoy fishing and other outdoor activities such as hunting, hiking, and wildlife viewing," said DFG Commissioner Griffin, whose office includes DMF. "I congratulate all those who participated and the skilled anglers who received awards.”

For a complete list of the 2012 winners, visit the links below:

DMF’s Saltwater Fishing Derby awards pins to all qualifying entries in 21 species categories and presents trophies at the expo to anglers who landed the heaviest fish in each species category. Winners are chosen in three divisions: men, women and juniors (age 15 and younger). Two anglers were also recognized for their catches in the Catch and Release category of the derby.

To qualify for the Saltwater Fishing Derby, entries must be caught by hook and line and weighed in at DMF-certified weigh stations. For the Saltwater Catch and Release Derby, fish should be measured on a measuring device to the nearest half inch, and a clearly discernable picture taken of both the measuring device and the fish, indicating total length.

DFG officials ask anglers to practice responsible fishing. DMF’s Responsible Angler Practices brochure pdf format of Responsible Angler Practices
instructs anglers in how to properly handle and release fish, how to use tackle that minimizes unintended harm to fish, and reminds anglers to minimize fight time, properly dispose of trash and unwanted tackle, to use circle hooks, wide gap hooks, and barbless hooks, and to take steps to protect habitat while fishing.

The Freshwater Sport Fishing Awards ceremony that was scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 9 was postponed due to the major snow storm. A new date and location for the awards ceremony, which will take place sometime this spring, will be announced soon.

DFG is responsible for promoting the conservation and enjoyment of the Commonwealth's natural resources. DFG carries out this mission through land protection and wildlife habitat management, management of inland and marine fish and wildlife species, and ecological restoration of fresh water, salt water, and terrestrial habitats. DFG promotes enjoyment of the Massachusetts environment through outdoor skills workshops, fishing festivals and other educational programs, and by enhancing access to the Commonwealth's rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.