GUY HARVEY, PH.D.
Guy Harvey is a man of many titles: Doctor of Marine Biology, artist, videographer, conservationist, TV host, diver, fisherman, and devoted family man.
Harvey’s skill as an artist is self-taught. He started by painting flowers native to his Jamaican home, but soon graduated to game fish. His pen-and-ink series of drawings illustrating Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea brought him huge recognition. Today if you attend any nautical gathering in the world, you’ll see people wearing Guy Harvey shirts.
Harvey’s conservation credentials are no less impressive. He founded the Guy Harvey Research Institute at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, his personal foundation for research and conservation. His TV series Portraits from the Deep also delivers a strong conservation message.
In addition, Harvey has authored two coffee table books, Portraits from the Deep and Santiago’s Finest Hour. His documentary TV show, Billfish, A Challenge for Survival, highlights the plight of this species through-out the world’s oceans. In short, Guy Harvey is one of the world’s foremost experts on billfish.
Whose offshore fishing arsenal doesn’t include a variety of Mold Craft soft-head lures? Well, they were developed by Frank Johnson, an inventor, fisherman, lecturer, and conservationist. He also designed the aluminum unibutt, which combines reel seat and butt, and the Roller Troller outrigger clip, both of which are now produced by Aftco Manufacturing.
But Johnson’s notoriety is really due to the lures, which have been responsible for many billfish tournament victories and countless big-game world records. In 2007 his Mold Craft Wide Range and Super Chugger lures were named first and second among the top ten lures of all time by Marlin magazine. He also developed the realistic Squirt Squid, Tuff Hoo, and fender teasers.
Johnson is also an accomplished angler, having caught a grander black marlin on the Great Barrier Reef, bluefin weighing more than 700 pounds, and countless billfish, including a grand slam, which involves catching three different billfish species in one day. A strong conservationist, he was also the first to step up with a large donation for the International Game Fishing Association Junior Angler Gallery at its Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum.
Johnson is now semi-retired, but you’ll still find him at boat and tackle shows, tournaments, and wherever offshore anglers gather.
ELLEN M. PEEL, J.D., LL.M
Ellen Peel, president of The Billfish Foundation (TBF) since 1995, has had a major influence on fisheries management, especially regarding billfish. When she took the helm of TBF, she expanded its mission from supporting the scientific study of billfish to promoting education and advocacy. Since then Peel has also expanded TBF’s vital tagging program and its annual recognition of, and awards to, the world’s top tagging anglers, captains, and mates.
She is not only involved with National Marine Fishery Service (NMFS) management plans, but with International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC). Peel was at the forefront of ICCAT’s first international billfish conservation measures, battled to keep longlines well offshore in Mexico, was involved with officials in Peru to give game fish status to billfish, and supported efforts to keep longlines out of California’s waters. As a result of her leadership, TBF recently entered into an agreement with governments in Central America to develop a regional billfish-management plan.
Peel points to the continuing pressure from commercial longline and purse seine fleets as the biggest threat to billfish resources. “Solving that problem will be the ultimate victory,” she says.
This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.