IGFA Celebrates Third Annual Call to Earth Day

The IGFA participated in and celebrated the third annual CNN Call to Earth Day, a day dedicated to conservation, environmentalism, and sustainability, with this year’s theme of “Our Shared Home” focusing on the crucial connection between cities and nature. More than 225,000 people from 122 different countries participated worldwide in this effort to better the health of the planet.

As anglers, we witness firsthand how our oceans, lakes, and rivers, are impacted by the development of our natural world. Therefore, it behooves us as anglers to help spread the word to those less connected to nature, educate them on its importance, and inspire them to make a change.

CNN’s Call to Earth Day provided the IGFA with the perfect platform to mobilize our global network of supporters to “answer the call” and get involved in this global movement by coordinating a cleanup in their respective communities as part of the IGFA’s Healthy Habitats program. Here are some highlights from IGFA’s participation in the 2023 CNN Call to Earth Day.

IGFA Representative Captain Masaharu Matsushita of Japan led the efforts on Sagara Beach in Shizuoka, Japan, on behalf of the IGFA Official Fishing Club Kona Game Fishing Club. A group of anglers, surfers, and others removed trash and manmade debris from a five-mile stretch of beach near Mt. Fuji, where strong winds regularly deposit plastic debris ashore.

Captain Masaharu Matsushita and IGFA Official Fishing Club Kona Game Fishing Club lead a beach cleanup near Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka, Japan, battling plastic pollution.

IGFA Trustee Ricardo Solá Tanca participated from his native country of Ecuador where he enlisted the support of his staff at Naturisa S.A, as well as other companies in the aquaculture sector, to participate in beach and green space clean-ups, and the recycling of plastic debris.

The Pago Pago Game Fishing Association, which is also an IGFA Fishing Club, collaborated with other environmental groups and government agencies to lead a CNN Call to Earth cleanup effort at the Malaloa Dock in American Samoa for students of Leone High School and NOAA Planet Stewards. Old ropes, boat chairs, and tires were just some of the items liberated from the ocean floor in the marina.

IGFA staff members hosted several habitat cleanups and another Plastic Portraits workshop for the CNN Call to Earth Day with a group of students and the Marine Environmental Education Center. All hard plastic debris collected during cleanups was collected and utilized to make portraits of game fish and other aquatic creatures to spread awareness of the global issue of plastic pollution in waterways affecting game fish habitats.

IGFA staff and students turn plastic debris into art to raise awareness about ocean pollution.

To further these efforts and to call on the next generation of environmental stewards, the IGFA and Wildlife Forever have teamed up again for the 2024 Fish Art Contest. This year, the IGFA Fish Art Conservation Award will feature a brand-new IGFA Debris Division, created on behalf of the IGFA’s Plastic Portraits Project, to raise awareness within the recreational angling community and beyond that healthy habitats are needed for healthy fisheries. Students interested in competing for this award must conduct fresh or saltwater habitat cleanups in their community and utilize the plastic waste or found objects to create their work of a game fish.

This contest runs through February 28, 2024. Interested students should visit 2024 IGFA Conservation Award for more information, and please stay tuned for the next call for cleanups for Earth Day on April 22, 2024!