IN MARCH the 2016 Papua New Guinea Games Fishing Association (GFA) National Titles will take place and will be hosted by the New Britain Game Fishing Club.

The event will take place from the 19th to the 28th of March.

Last year’s titles were held in Port Moresby and met with huge success with over 40 anglers competing, according the association.

The GFA’s National Game Fishing Titles first began in Rabaul in 1976 and was then hosted by the East New Britain Game Fishing Club.

Since then the tournament has been held in rotation between East New Britain, Bouganville, Lae, Madang and Port Moresby.

However, since the crises on Bougainville and the volcanic eruptions in East New Britain, the tournament has been hosted by Lae, Madang and Port Moresby, the association said.

Over the years, the tournament has become one of PNG’s largest sporting events with up to 450 anglers participating and a growing support from corporate sponsors.

The focus of the titles is on team fishing, and is split into tackle classes to encourage all styles of game fishing.

The format is for a team to fish any two days out of the nine that the titles are held over, which allows the limited number of appropriate boats in PNG to fish several teams.

This has proved to be a most successful arrangement, although tiring for the skipper and crew, GFA said.

There are occasionally cash prizes for a specific target, such as a new national record marlin.

However, the titles are not regarded as a money tournament.

Each year’s national champion takes home a trophy.

Conservation of all species is encouraged by the GFA and the group has recently introduced a ‘tag and release’ section to the tournament.

The nutrient-rich oceans and shifting tropical climate of PNG nurtures one of the most diverse marine life in the world – making fishing in this destination world-class, GFA said.