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Beginning May 29 and running through June 3, Cuban waters are the scene for some 450 competitors to enjoy sport fishing, during the 67th edition of the Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament, with the second largest participation of the last ten years.

The event, first held in 1950, has attracted more than 50 teams from 13 countries, including Puerto Rico, Britain, Canada, France, Mexico, South Korea, Lithuania, Cuba, and notably the United States – with 28 boats.

The competition involves billfish species – like marlin, tuna, and wahoo – and promotes their conservation, abiding by the International Game Fishing Federation’s rules, using a tag and release method to accumulate points.

 

Beginning May 29 and running through June 3, Cuban waters are the scene for some 450 competitors to enjoy sport fishing, during the 67th edition of the Ernest Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament, with the second largest participation of the last ten years.

The event, first held in 1950, has attracted more than 50 teams from 13 countries, including Puerto Rico, Britain, Canada, France, Mexico, South Korea, Lithuania, Cuba, and notably the United States – with 28 boats.

The competition involves billfish species – like marlin, tuna, and wahoo – and promotes their conservation, abiding by the International Game Fishing Federation’s rules, using a tag and release method to accumulate points.

TOURNAMENT HIGHLIGHTS

The first day is on land, with participants registering their crew and boats, receiving the schedule, and attending the Captain’s Meeting where the tournament’s rules were outlined.

This year, the 30 and 31st were devoted to fishing. June 1 was a day of rest, with a return to the sea June 2-3.

The program includes collateral activities, such as concerts and tastings of Cuban products, making the event an opportunity to learn more about Cuba.

Fishing time on the water is from 8:00am through 6:00 pm, and shortly after the end of the day, a bulletin is released summarizing the results.

“An angler can make about four catches a day, depending on experience,” explained Domingo Novo, the Hemingway Marina commercial director.

ON THE WATER

Boats are allowed to venture 12 miles into the open sea, along the island’s coastline from Mariel to Santa Cruz del Norte.

There are three big moments during the tournament, the first being when an angler hooks a fish, and the battle between the two begins. The second comes when the first effectively proves that he or she has won, and the third moment involves the release of the fish, and the jury’s ruling that the correct procedure was followed and the fish returned to the sea alive.

Catches are verified with photos and videos, and are categorized by day with stickers of different colors.

Each species of billfish has its own score, with blue marlin garnering the most points, followed by white marlin and then sailfish. Also included in the competition are wahoo, tuna, and dorado, which are brought aboard to be weighed on shore for points in other modalities of the event, Domingo Novo added.

THE 67TH HEMINGWAY TOURNAMENT

Although participation in this edition of the fishing competition did not surpass that of last year, the participation of Cuban crews was noteworthy.

“Although the boats don’t have the latest technology, there was an increase in Cuban boats and crews. This shows the quality and professionalism of our country in the competition,” Domingo Novo said.

As is the case every year, the jury is composed of qualified experts certified by the Cuban Federation of Sports Fishing and the Institute of Sports, Physical Education, and Recreation and Como (Inder), who announce the winners on the last day of the tournament.

Once again this year, a first, second, and third prize are awarded based on the number of marlin caught and released. Additionally recognized are the best female angler, the youngest, and those who hooked the biggest wahoo, tuna, and dorado.

The Hemingway International Billfishing Tournament is one of the leading tournaments on the sport’s international circuit, and one of the most longstanding of its kind, with only two others founded earlier: the World Tuna Cup in New Brunswick, Canada, and the Sábalo Tournament in Mexico. The event is also an enticing opportunity for participants to get to know Cuba, and serves to promote friendship amongst the world’s nautical communities.

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