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2024 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament canceled due to low attendance

(BIVN) – The planned 62nd annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona has been canceled, organizers announced this week, due to low global participation.

“Despite extensive efforts to attract participants from around the world, including extensive outreach campaigns and promotional initiatives, the desired level of interest required to maintain tournament standards was not achieved,” a HIBT press release said.

The event was scheduled to take place from July 27th to August 3rd, 2024.



“The decision to cancel the 2024 tournament was made after careful consideration of various factors impacting the viability of the event,” said HIBT Director Roberta Fithian. “It breaks my heart to cancel the tournament. While this decision is extremely disappointing, it underlines our commitment to preserving the tournament’s treasured legacy and providing a high quality experience for all participants.”

From the HIBT press release:

In 1959, just two days after Hawaii became the 50th state, the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament launched its first sport fishing tournament in Kona. In the first year, a Hawaii team won ahead of competition from teams from Australia and New Zealand. The tradition of international fishing teams coming to Kona began. In 1960, a female angler caught a world record Pacific blue marlin, proving that women could fish. Women were also invited to take part in the third year of the tournament.

Before sustainability became a buzzword, HIBT introduced its Tag and Release initiative over 40 years ago, awarding valuable team points for marlin under 300 pounds that were released back into the sea.



Over the years, teams have come together from Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Africa, Vanuatu, Fiji, Palau, Taiwan, Russia, Korea, France and the French Territories, the Marshall Islands, Tahiti and the United Kingdom Islands, the Bahamas, American Samoa, the Gilbert and Ellis Islands, the Philippines, Guam, Hong Kong and Bermuda, and the United States participated in the event.

The HIBT Organizing Committee says it looks forward to “Start Fishing, Start Fishing, Start Fishing” in the calm waters of Kona in 2025.”

Anna Harden

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