Prime Minister Launches 2023 SIGFA International Fishing Tournament
Apia, Samoa – April 29, 2023: The Samoa International Game Fishing Association (SIGFA) 2023 International Tournament was officially opened on Saturday at the SIGFA headquarters in Apia’s Marina by the Honourable Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.
The tournament brings together local and international anglers who will compete for the championship title in the upcoming week from May 1 to May 6, 2023.
In her opening remarks, Prime Minister Fiame recited an old Samoan proverb that symbolizes the three aspects of the tournament: the daring fisherwomen and fishermen returning from the deep sea, those who made the tournament possible, and family and friends praying for the seafarer’s safe return.
“When I was invited to attend the opening of the SIGFA International tournament, I was reminded of an old Samoan proverb” Fiame said. “Ua sau le va’a na tiu, tau mai i le va’a na tau as o lo’o mamau pea lago o le va’a na fao afolau.”
“In the context of this tournament, the first canoe, which returns home from a fishing expedition, represents the daring fisherwomen and fishermen returning from the deep sea. The second canoe is at berth in the lagoon and represents all those who have made this tournament possible.”
“And the third canoe lies in the boat shelter on the beach, representing the family and friends who pray for the seafarer’s safe passage home. All three of these ‘canoes’ are represented here today.”
Fiame highlighted that the tournament is not only a competition but an opportunity to appreciate and preserve Samoa’s rich marine biodiversity. In addition she commended SIGFA’s dedication to promoting sustainable sport fishing practices, encouraging its members to release all billfish, such as marlin and sailfish, and other vulnerable species such as Giant Trevally.
“Since SIGFA was founded in 1998, the Government of Samoa has been a strong supporter, more recently through the Samoa International Finance Authority” Fiame explained.
“Samoa Ports Authority, Customs, Quarantine, and Immigration have assisted over the years to help SIGFA bring boats from overseas to compete in the international tournament.”
“Together with our local fishing community, the Government of Samoa is deeply committed to protecting our marine resources and promoting responsible fishing. This will ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy our bountiful waters.”
She also acknowledged the vital role played by the local business community and volunteers, who generously donate their time to make this event a success.
“I also wish to acknowledge the important role played by our local business community. The tournament would not be possible without their continued support. To the generous volunteers I want to say you are the embodiment of the ‘second canoe’.
“The family and friends, in the ‘third canoe’ your well wishes and prayers for the safe return of your loved ones will be crucial to their success. To the fisherwomen and fishermen, may your lines be strong, your hooks be sharp, and your spirits be high.”
SIGFA President, Vaughan Simpson, delivered a speech thanking the local and overseas teams, especially those from New Zealand, Australia, and American Samoa, for participating in the tournament. Simpson also expressed his hope to bring boats from New Zealand to compete in future events.
This year’s tournament is particularly significant, as it welcomes back international anglers after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic and serves as a qualifying event for the prestigious Offshore World Championship Tournament (OWC) held in Costa Rica. The winners of the SIGFA 2023 International Tournament will be invited to apply to register their team to compete in the 2024 OWC tournament.
The SIGFA International Tournament 2023 is made possible by the generous support of main sponsors; Apia Concrete Products (ACP), Samoa International Finance Authority (SIFA), Taula Beverages, Samoa Tourism Authority, Samoa Commercial Bank, National Bank of Samoa, ANZ Bank, Pacific Forum Line, Ca’bella Construction, Swire Shipping, Penn and Co, BDO Samoa, Elaine’s Quality Furnishings, and Troppo Fishing Adventures, Le Well, Tanoa Samoa Ltd, and many other local entities.