The 56th annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which opened Jan. 1 and runs throughout the year, will see no modifications in its popular Citation program, according to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
At its annual meeting in November, the tournament committee reviewed the minimum and maximum qualifying standards for a number of different species. A downward trend was noted in citation numbers of croaker, flounder, spot and gray trout while an upward trend was seen for red drum, speckled trout and striped bass, the release said. Following this review, the committee voted to maintain the current qualifying standards.
Tournament director Lewis Gillingham said the committee did not support a request from the public to reestablish a release citation for black sea bass.
Other popular programs administered by the Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, such as the Junior Angler Program and the Expert and Master Angler programs, will also return unchanged in 2013. The Junior Angler Program challenges children less than 16 years of age to catch and release six species of saltwater fish. To qualify as an Expert Angler a fisherman must register fish in at least six different species for Citation awards during the year. Master Angler requirements are 25 Citations (with a maximum of one per species per year) in at least five different species over an unlimited period of time starting in 1996.