Graves Wins Award

Graves wins International Game Fish Award

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has honored VIMS Professor John Graves with their individual Conservation Award for 2006.

IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser says that the Association recognized Graves for his groundbreaking research and management efforts in regards to billfish and tuna.

Graves is a leader in the application of modern genetic techniques to billfish research, and has served as Chair of the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Section of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) for the past 10 years. His use of pop-up tags in the catch-and-release marlin fishery has provided direct conservation benefits, showing that the use of circle hooks significantly reduces post-catch mortality as compared to traditional straight-shank hooks.

Graves is also actively involved in the Mid-Atlantic $500,000, one of the largest game-fishing tournaments on the East Coast. He has helped inspect each fish landed during the 15-year history of the event, and produces an annual report for tournament participants that highlights major changes in billfish management and recent scientific discoveries.

"John was a natural choice for the IGFA Conservation Award," says Schratwieser. "His work has been instrumental in on-going international efforts to conserve game fish and their habitats."

VIMS Dean and Director John Wells says that notes that Grave's receipt of the award "highlights the important role that VIMS plays in addressing issues that are of direct significance to recreational and commercial fishing communities around the globe."

Founded in 1939, the 30,000-member IGFA is the world's oldest fishing association, with the goal of promoting game-fishing as both a recreational activity and a potential source of scientific data. IGFA maintains and publishes world records for saltwater, freshwater, and junior-angler catches. IGFA has long supported scientific tagging and other data-collection programs, and works closely with fishery scientists to exchange information and relay to anglers the particular needs and results of research and conservation efforts.

IGFA officials presented the award during the Association’s 23rd annual Auction & Banquet in Palm Beach, Florida in February.