In a first-of-its-kind event, last weekend’s Sailfish Tournament at Miami Beach Marina became the world’s first carbon-neutral fishing contest. Twenty-three boats competed in the event, and 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,” says Capt. 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.”  

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.  

Environmental Defense, a tournament cosponsor, wants to ensure the event’s carbon-neutral message continues to resonate with Florida anglers. The group has launched the Green Button Project, an innovative program that 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,” says 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.”  

As Florida’s presidential primary 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 poll, 85% of sportsmen say Congress should pass legislation that sets a clear national goal for reducing global-warming pollution, with mandatory timelines.

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