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Jakarta Post

Widi Islands: Sports fishing competitors’ new battleground

Wed, November 15, 2017   /   12:48 pm
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    Break of dawn: Fisherman start their day early during the recent Widi International Fishing Tournament (WIFT) 2017. JP/ PJ Leo

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    Local eye: The crew of a small boat points to coral under the sea. JP/ PJ Leo

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    Reel deal: A competitor handles fishing equipment near a mural of Captain Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Carribean film series. JP/ PJ Leo

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    Thrice is nice:The crew of a competing team show off their catch. JP/ PJ Leo

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    Enjoying the view: Sport fishing competitors sit on the deck of their ship during sunset. JP/ PJ Leo

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    How heavy: Committee members of WIFT 2017 weigh a big fish. JP/PJ Leo

Indonesia successfully held its first international fishing tournament off the Widi Islands, South Halmahera, North Maluku, from Oct. 25 to 29. The Widi Islands have the potential to become the world’s latest sports fishing hotspot,” International Game Fish Association representative Tim Simpson said at the tournament’s opening ceremony.

The tournament was organized by the North Maluku provincial government and the South Halmahera regency. The Coordinating Maritime Affairs Ministry, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and the Tourism Ministry also supported it.

Sports fishing tourism is a growing industry worldwide. It gives Indonesia an excellent opportunity to attract visitors from around the world to see and experience the beauty and natural wonders that Indonesia’s many tropical islands have to offer.

As fishing grounds in other countries become polluted and over-fished, anglers around the world are now looking for productive new fishing grounds to be discovered.

The aim of the sport is not to harvest the fish, but to release them after they have been caught. This is known as catch-and-release fishing.

Anglers are willing to spend money for the experience, but the fish remain alive to fight another day.

Big fish are the focus, the drawing card that attracts these anglers and induces them to travel to remote areas and spend large sums of money.