Don McIntoshAbaco, Bahamas
Don has been fishing since before he could walk and has learned that perhaps the most important part of fishing is respect for the ocean and its inhabitants. He has been a strong promoter of catch and release and the use of circle hooks for years, and has taught local anglers about the benefits of these practices. As an IGFA Representative he is eager to start a youth fishing camp where local kids can learn not only ethical fishing techniques and the importance of preserving the marine environment. Don also hopes to help promote the IGFA rules and regulations in Abaco, Northern Bahamas and wherever his travels take him.
Rachel LightbourneNassau, Bahamas
Rachel Lightbourne -- third generation of the family owned-and-operated Lightbourne Marine-- has heightened the company's stature in the Bahamas through nine years of running the Lightbourne Marine Annual Wahoo Fishing Tournament. She has been a Representative for the IGFA since 2008 and was presented with the IGFA Conservation Award in 2010 for her active role in preventing purse seine netting in Bahamian waters. She also played a key role in the Lionfish Control Project and recently attended all of the town meetings related to new fly fishing legislation in the Bahamas. Lightbourne's ever-growing love and respect for the truly unique environment of The Bahamas has moved her to become an active volunteer at the Bahamas National Trust where she recently was appointed a council member.
John D. MarshallChrist Church, Barbados
Henry BeissnerAmbergris Caye, Belize
Henry Beissner, owner of Fin & Feather Tackle Shop in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye in Belize, Central America. The cayes located along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef that parallel the country of Belize offer amazing inshore and offshore fishing. The waters off Ambergris Caye offer the most sportfishing opportunities and until the last decade or so, the fly fishing out of Ambergris Caye had been a well-guarded secret. Today it is now a world famous fly fishing destination for tarpon and bonefish. Beissner has fished the International Sailfish Tournament in Costa Rica and the Guatemala City Fishing Club Tournament, but admits his favorite type of fishing is sight casting for snook. Secretary of the Ambergris Caye Fishing Guides Association and Committee member and official weigh master for the Dia de San Pedro Fishing Tournament, Beissner is keen on instilling a better release ethic among guides and local fishermen in general.
Clive H. SmithGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Clive Smith was recently appointed an IGFA Representative for Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, succeeding the long tenure of J. William (Bill) Rewalt, IGFA Representative for that island nation since 1982. Smith is a lifetime angler and has served as President of the Cayman Island Angling Club, established by Rewalt in 1982, for the past five years. He is also Chairman of the Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament. IGFA Trustee Dr. Guy Harvey, who has known Smith for 23 years, says he "has been at the core of every fishing event in the Cayman Islands for the last two decades". Smith, who is proud to say he has released all blue marlin he has ever caught, is presently involved in ensuring all billfish under 300 lb. are released. He says any billfish boated under 300 lb will not be weighed at his Fishing Club.
Franklin Thompson is the current president of the Cayman Islands Angling Club and chairman of the Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament. In 2018 he was appointed to the National Conservation Council. Thompson is an active promoter of the Cayman Islands as a sport fishing destination and has been featured in various television shows and publications. As an IGFA Representative his goal is to continue to work with the IGFA to further his youth education efforts and increase the IGFA presence in the Caribbean.
Federico Hampl has fished from Canada to the Caribbean to Argentina-- most of the time accompanied by his family. The Hampls have achieved more than 100 IGFA world records, with Federico Hampl holding 25. Hampl is a strong advocate of educating fellow fishermen about IGFA international angling rules and promoting ethical and responsible angling. Recently, he and other like-minded anglers founded the Costa Rican Association of Fly Fishing (CRAFF). The association unites a community of fly fishers and focuses on protecting freshwater resources from neglect by the Costa Rican government.
Carlos M. BarrantesSan Jose, Costa Rica
Jose Manuel Lopez PintoSan Jose, Costa Rica
Giuseppe OmegnaHavana, Cuba
Giuseppe Omegna represented IGFA in Spain but now lives in Cuba where he promotes IGFA ethics and initiatives. Omegna is best known for helping create many marine protected areas in Cuba-- including the largest in the Caribbean-- to ensure the future of our sport.
Jose M. EscrichHavana, Cuba
Jose Escrich is Commodore of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba. A big promoter of conservation, Escrich introduced tag-and-release practices of the IGFA and Billfish Foundation at Cuba's annual Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Fishing Tournament. As an IGFA Representative, Escrich is committed to the promotion of sport fishing and conservation of marine resources.
José Ramón Cuza Delgado
Jose Ramón is the current President of the Cuban Sportfishing Federation, position he has held since 2005. A big promoter of conservation practices, Jose Ramón is currently working on spreading the "Libertad para uno" (Freedom for one) campaign all over Cuba. This campaign encourages anglers to release at least one fish of the ones caught during a fishing trip with the goal of stimulating the idea of fishing without killing. As an IGFA Representative Jose Ramón's main objective is to help promote proper angling practices among the fishing community. He hopes to be able to establish an education program were children can learn about the importance of conservation and sustainable fisheries.
Ewald E. Heinsen
"Wally" Heinsen is a member and past president of the Club Nautico de Santo Domingo-- the top fishing club in the Dominican Republic. He has organized and directed various international fishing tournaments including the 2008 ILTTA tournament in Punta Cana. Heinsen is a founding member of the Dominican Light-Tackle Anglers Club which promotes IGFA rules, light tackle, catch-and-release, and circle hooks. Heinsen works with Roy Beasley, Brad Gentner and Raul Gonzales of CODOPESCA to advance the Caribbean Billfish Project aimed at boosting stocks.
Francisco "Paco" SacaAt Large, El Salvador
Born and raised in El Salvador, "Paco" Saca got hooked on fishing in the early 1980s while fishing for snook in Florida where he was a University of Miami student. Saca founded the El Salvador International Billfish Tournament which he converted to an all-release format in 2017 to encourage conservation practices among all participating anglers. He was also involved in the banning of shrimp trawlers in the waters of El Salvador.
Bruce Holder's passion for fishing stemmed from his early years spent poaching European sea bass in Normandy, France to sell to restaurants. Now a resident of the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, he practices catch-and-release for snook, tarpon, bonefish and permit in the mangroves and flats. With no fishing regulations implemented in Guadeloupe, Holder's main goal is to teach the locals the ethics of catch-and-release to conserve vulnerable fisheries.
Jorge E. SinibaldiGuatemala City, Guatemala
Fishing has been a big part of Jorge Sinibaldi's life since his father and uncle introduced him to the sport; today he shares his passion for the water with his children. He served eight years as president of the Guatemala Fishing Federation. A conservationist, Sinibaldi helped establish the Guatemalan Commission for the Protection of Sailfish--an agency dedicated to the prevention of the illegal harvest of sailfish in Guatemalan waters. As an IGFA Representative, Sinibaldi's goal is to engage the next generation of anglers and promote conservation through education.
Mauricio CanahuatiCortes, Honduras
Mauricio Canahuati has been an IGFA Representative for Honduras since 2013. One of Honduras's key sport fishing community leaders, he co-founded the Puerto Cortes Billfish Open-- the country's leading fishing tournament. The tournament donates tens of thousands of dollars to foundations and other charitable organizations throughout the country, positively defining fishing for change. Canahuati is a member of the board of directors of the sport fishing club Club de Pesca del Caribe. He is a staunch advocate of catch-and-release fishing.
Ron DuQuesnayKingston/Port Antonio, Jamaica
Born in Jamaica in 1944 , Ron DuQuesnay became a general surgeon at the University Hospital of the West Indies, and eventually Senior Lecturer from the 1960s until his retirement in 2010. As IGFA Jamaica Representative since the early 1990s, DuQuesnay has been instrumental in promoting IGFA angling rules and conservation ethics. In 2000, he became chairman of Sir Henry Morgan Angling Association (SHMAA) Ltd. founded in 1980. SHMAA Ltd. remains a conservation-centric Jamaican angling organization, stressing 100 percent catch-and- release for marlin.
Xavier AutreyAcapulco, Mexico
Xavier Autrey is a fisherman with true dedication to fisheries conservation. As an IGFA representative, he initiated instructive courses on circle hooks and catch-and-release in Mexico's Acapulco region. He has participated in the National Federation of Sport Fishermen of Mexico which introduced circle hook and catch-and-release practices. He has won three tournaments and finished in the top three in other events.
Minerva Saenz-SmithCabo San Lucas, Mexico
Minerva Saenz-Smith and her husband Bob moved to Mexico's Cabo region in 1976 and became sport fishing pioneers. They ran a successful charter boat business and later opened the renowned Minerva's Baja Tackle shop. Minerva is committed to conserving game fish and promoting the sport. She served as president of the Union of Owners of Sportfishing Charters for three terms and has lobbied for the protection of game fish species in Mexico.
Joan M. RayoIsla Mujeres, Mexico
Joan Rayo, originally from Spain, has enjoyed fishing since he was a child. He is the current director of La Amada Marina in Isla Mujeres and plans to promote catch and release fishing, circle hook use and IGFA rules. He is a very passionate angler and has fished in Spain, Italy, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Florida and both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Mexico.
Nassim D. JoaquinCozumel Island, Mexico
Avid fly fisherman Nassim Joaquin of Cozumel Island, Mexico founded the Peninsula Fly Fishing Club-- Mexico's only saltwater fly fishing club. He co-authored the book "Flyfishing in Mexico: The Yucatan Peninsula" with Juan Pablo Reynal and Daniel Beillinson and achieved three IGFA world records and numerous IGFA inshore Grand Slams on fly. Joaquin has caught five billfish species on fly. With Dr. Aaron Adams of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, Joaquin launched the bonefish and permit tagging program in Mexico. Former president of Amigos de Sian Ka'an A.C.-- the largest fishing conservation organization in Southeast Mexico-- Joaquin also served as president of the State of Quintana Roo Sport Fishing Committee. He founded the e-fly fishing magazine www.pesca-con-mosca.com and contributes to numerous publications worldwide.
Anthony Mendillo, Jr.Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Captain Anthony Mendillo Jr. began fishing with his father as a child. Currently he fishes an average of 200 days a year and one of his most memorable days was catching 76 Atlantic sailfish in Isla Mujeres. He was instrumental in creating a rule at the local marina to only use circle hooks and has been involved in tagging tunas. He is owner of Keen M International Sport Fishing and specializes in professional underwater images and video. He has participated and placed in numerous tournaments. He also enjoys blue water diving with sailfish with his wife and daughter.
Ricardo Hernandez CarrascoOaxaca, Mexico
Also recommended by a longtime IGFA Representative for Mexico, Ricardo Hernandez Carrasco is the first IGFA Representative for Oaxaca. This southern Mexican state known for large tuna and roosterfish, has become a popular and fast growing sport fishing destination and is comprised of the "Huatulco Bays" located south of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. Carrasco is a biologist and professor at the Ocean University in Huatulco, owns a tackle shop and is the President of The Huajuapan Fishing Club. He is an avid fresh and saltwater angler, who is still vying for that black marlin or sailfish IGFA World Record. In 2004, Carrasco organized one of the first catch and release black bass tournaments in Oaxaca, which subsequently became an IGFA inshore qualifying event. Carrasco will continue to promote catch and release throughout the state and at the many international and national tournaments, and promote fresh and saltwater world records.
Eduardo Perusquia MoranMexico City, Mexico
Luis Ramiro ArroyoChiapas, Mexico
Angel L. Requejo GutierrezVeracruz, Mexico
Lifelong fisherman Angel Requejo Gutierrez graduated from the University of Miami (UM) with a major in marine affairs and a double minor in biology and business where he developed a passion for angling and fisheries conservation. Requejo has worked with the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and UM on a satellite tagging program to research tarpon migratory patterns in the southern Gulf of Mexico. For the past five years, he has worked with NOAA Fisheries in a similar tagging program for yellowfin tuna. Requejo is a board member of the International Tarpon Conservation Association (ITCA).
Roberto A. Cantu GarzaTabasco & Campeche, Mexico
Emilio E. Munkel Deshon
Emilio Munkel started fishing at a young age and in 2009 he started to seriously pursue offshore fishing, participating in several tournaments. In 2014 he achieved first place angler in the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown Leg I and the Flor de Caña Tournament captained by John Lagrone. Munkel attributes his ever growing passion for the sport to the many captains, crew members and tackle shop owners he has met along the way. As an IGFA Representative, his main goal is to work with the Nicaraguan government to develop regulations that will encourage sustainable, ethical and responsible fishing practices.
Ramiro N. OrtizManagua, Nicaragua
Ramiro N. Ortiz was recently appointed as IGFA's Representative in Nicaragua, replacing Carlos F. Pellas who became an IGFA Board member in 2006. Ortiz is a great family angler, who also sits on a tournament committee that caters to the "average angler". Ortiz travels to tournaments as well to promote membership in the IGFA, specifically to junior anglers. His goals are to increase awareness of IGFA in Nicaragua, which is fast becoming a sport fishing destination like its neighbor Costa Rica. Ortiz is also involved with TBF's billfish tagging program and is looking to become much more involved in this as he fishes more tournaments. Ortiz, who fishes in the Pacific Ocean as well as in Nicaragua's many famous, freshwater lakes recently took 2nd place in the Sailfish Class at the 2006 El Salvador Annual Marlin Tournament.
Rene GomezPanama City, Panama
Rene has been a diving instructor for the past 40 years and in 1981 he founded SCUBAPANAMA, a 5 star Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). His diving career and a passion for fishing have given Rene a deep seeded appreciation for the marine environment and its preservation. He has represented Panama at several Central America Fisheries and Aquaculture Organization (OSPESCA) meetings and assisted The Billfish Foundation (TBF) in programs in Panama. Rene also serves as the voice for the sport fishing community by representing The Sportfishing Clubs Association of Panama (ACPDP) at meetings with governmental authorities. As an IGFA Representative Rene hopes to further his efforts of educating others on conservation minded angling practices as well as to work with tournaments to have them enforce the fishing rules and regulations set forth by the IGFA.
Roberto L. Novey, Jr.Balboa, Ancón, Panama
A 1969 University of Miami graduate, Robert Novey is immersed in sport fishing. He ran the Club Pacifico fishing lodge on the Island of Coiba off Panama and worked as director of Panama's Tropic Star Lodge in the early 1980s. Novey was past president and director of Central American Billfish Association (CABA) and frequently attends IGFA Representative meetings and other organization functions. He is very active in the fisheries conservation movement in Panama and Latin America.
Horacio A. Clare, IIICoiba, Panama
Horacio Clare is an IGFA world record setter and member of IGFA's 10 Pound Bass Club, 50 Pound Dolphinfish Club, and 20 Pound Peacock Bass Club. As an IGFA Representative and captain, he fights to conserve fish and educate the next generation of anglers-- giving them the tools and information needed to become good environmental stewards. Catch-and-release fishing is one of the most important subjects he teaches; he is a vocal advocate for recreational regulations that promote sustainable fisheries.