Introducing the TBF Experience


The TBF Experience is a new campaign that showcases the experiences made possible by conservation. When you think TBF, think: marlin on a teaser or a sailfish jumping across the Pacific Ocean. It is these experiences that The Billfish Foundation is all about. 

By Elliott Stark

If you’re reading this there is a pretty good chance that you know what The Billfish Foundation represents. The world’s leading sportfishing conservation group, TBF has worked hand in hand with scientists, policy makers and the sportfishing industry to advance billfish conservation since 1986.

TBF’s work benefits not just marlin and sailfish, but also many people and the oceans where billfish live.  The Billfish Foundation actively supports the sportfishing industry and the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars that depend on it.

How does TBF do all of this? The Foundation employs a diversified suite of programs that advance responsible, science-based management and conservation.

How TBF Makes Conservation Happen

TBF is famous for its ability to leverage scientific, policy, economic and advocacy initiatives into programs that move the needle. To understand just how effective The Billfish Foundation has been to conservation, consider the following:

  1. TBF was instrumental to the adoption of catch and release billfishing in the late 1980s and 90s. These days, the catch and release of marlin and sailfish is all but taken for granted. This was not always the case.

blank tag card

  1. The Billfish Foundation is among the world’s leaders in illustrating the economic value of fish alive in the oceans. Did you know that sportfishing tourism brings in more than a billion dollars into the economy of Baja California, Mexico every year? Or, that sportfishing activity accounts for more than 2% of the Gross Domestic Product of the entire economy of Costa Rica?
  2. The Billfish Foundation’s membership network spans six continents.

The Foundation has accomplished impactful conservation work for three and a half decades and counting. Much of this work, however, is technical, complex and difficult to showcase in an Instagram post….

What is The Billfish Foundation All About?

If, when you think of The Billfish Foundation, you think “fish science for conservation” you are not wrong. Many people also think of tag and release or the membership they’ve been meaning to send in.

But there is much more to The Billfish Foundation than that.

The Foundation’s value proposition lies in making a difference for marlin, sailfish, swordfish and associated species. There is, however, another aspect of TBF that you may not immediately think about.

The facet that sometimes gets overlooked is the most exciting aspect of TBF’s work… Sportfishing.

The Billfish Foundation is all about sportfishing.

Sportfishing is the binding tie that connects its global membership. It has been this way since The Billfish Foundation was created by anglers in 1986.

The inspiration for TBF, the story goes, occurred to a group of concerned sportfishermen led by the late Winthrop Rockefeller on the docks of Puerto Rico’s San Juan International Tournament in the mid-1980s. It is still this way today.

No matter where in the world you fish, no matter which variety of billfish is your favorite… The Billfish Foundation has been involved in helping conserve its population.

Do you like fishing in Central America?

Black marlin in Panama… 20 blue marlin days in Costa Rica… raising 60 sailfish in Guatemala. The Billfish Foundation’s work is apparent here…

The Economic Impact of Sportfishing in Costa Rica.
TBF-OSPESCA: Conservation Workshops and Tag Distribution across all seven nations in Central America.
DNA testing: TBF also pioneered the use DNA testing of seafood products to combat the illegal export of sailfish in Costa Rica.

Do you appreciate how good the swordfishing is in the Atlantic, Eastern Pacific, or Gulf of Mexico?

The Billfish Foundation has been there…. Longline closures in Gulf and straits of Florida

Are white marlin your thing?

white marlin head and bill

TBF’s three and a half decades of science, advocacy and engaging the sportfishing community have been central to putting up 20, 30 and 40 fish days on the east coast and catching piles of them in the Gulf and Caribbean.

TBF Experience

The Billfish Foundation has members in Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Bermuda… all over the world. The tie that binds is fishing and the love of catching marlin and sailfish.

This is what the TBF Experience is all about. The campaign will showcase The Billfish Foundation in terms of the fishing and the experiences it makes possible.

blue marlin jumping behind boat

Here you will find profiles of members, fishing lodges, destinations, tournaments and companies that share the passion for fishing. We will showcase those whose commitment makes TBF’s work possible.

Blue Marlin Conservation Record 2019 | The Billfish Foundation

A blue marlin boat side for guests at Casa Vieja Lodge in Guatemala. Conservation makes experiences like this possible.

The TBF Experience will also share inside access to some of the best experiences in the sportfishing world. We will profile top lodges and captains, some of the best offshore fishing destinations in the world and profile interesting stories shared by some of the best in the business.

Such sights and experiences are what The Billfish Foundation is all about. When you think TBF, it is these experiences—a blue marlin crashing a teaser or a sailfish jumping across the Pacific—that should be top of mind.

Speaking of Membership

And that TBF Membership ? It is less about the t-shirt and more about being part of the most exciting thing in the world… Catching a billfish.

About Elliott Stark

Elliott Stark

Elliott Stark began his career as a Science and Policy Specialist for The Billfish Foundation from 2008-2012. He has fished on four continents, managed a mothership marlin fishing operation in Panama, and has more than 100 published articles in the sportfishing and conservation sectors. Elliott is from Texas and would rather fish than eat.