North Carolina blue marlin fishing tournament ends in controversy after 619-pound catch is disqualified

Stock photo of ocean fishing reels on a boat in the ocean, ready to catch large ocean fish. via Getty Creative Images

A North Carolina fishing tournament ended in controversy over the weekend as a group that caught a 619-pound blue marlin was disqualified after a review.

The boat named Sensation reeled in the fish as part of the 65th Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City. The tournament organizers on Saturday showed a photo of the crew on its Facebook page with the gigantic catch but warned the group could be in violation of one of the rules.

On Sunday, an official was ruling made.

"After careful deliberation and discussions between the Big Rock Rules Committee and Board of Directors with biologists from both NC State CMAST (Center for Marine Sciences and Technology) and NC Marine Fisheries biologists as well as an IGFA (International Game Fish Association) official, it was determined that SENSATIONS 619.4lb Blue Marlin is disqualified due to mutilation caused by a shark or other marine animal. It was deemed that the fish was mutilated before it was landed or boated and there for it was disqualified," the statement read.

"The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament follows IGFA rules regarding mutilated fish as outlined in Rule #23 in the Big Rock Official Rules. IGFA rules state that the following situation will disqualify a fish: ‘Mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh.’


"The decision is consistent with prior decisions made by the tournament in similar circumstances over the last 65 years."

Officials declared Sushi the winner of the tournament for its 484.5-pound catch.

The discrepancy began as the Sensation’s marlin was weighed. Officials noticed what appeared to be a shark bite near the fish’s head, according to the Jacksonville Daily News. As crowds waited anxiously for a winner to be declared, organizers waited until Sunday morning.

Organizers said 271 boats participated in the tournament. Sushi took home $2.77 million from the tournament, according to the Jacksonville Daily News.

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