May 9, 2016

Capt. Ernie Foster honored by Billfish Foundation

Captain Ernie Foster of Hatteras village has been honored by the Billfish Foundation, the world's leading conservation organization for marlin, sailfish, spearfish, and associated highly migratory species.

The group, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, last week announced the winners of its prestigious Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award.  The winners included Foster, Captain Kelvin "Red" Bailey of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Bonnie Powell of Brandon, Fla.

The award is named in honor of the late John Rybovich, a pioneer in billfish conservation and sportfishing vessel design.

"Captain Ernie Foster of Hatteras, North Carolina, grew up on boats fishing in the family’s charter business, the Albatross Fleet," the Billfish Foundation said in a news release. "His father, Capt. Ernal Foster, one might say launched charter fishing in the region in 1937 when he began charging anglers to take them fishing; others laughed.  In the early 1950s when his boat landed a 451 pound blue marlin, the Dare County’s first public relations specialist was present and took photos. When those photos spread worldwide, Hatteras was on the map as a hot spot for offshore fishing."

Ernal Foster was also the first in the area to have clients ask to release a big blue marlin, which he did.

Today, the foundation notes, Ernie manages the Albatross Fleet of three boats and runs the Albatross III.

The foundation also acknowledges Foster's role in fisheries issues.

"Having witnessed significant changes in fishing, in government regulations and changes in the abundance of many fish species, Ernie finds it necessary to take an active role with fishery management issues. And, when some situations pit commercial fishing and recreational fishing against one another in his community, that is when Ernie most likely finds his earlier professional experience as a guidance counselor most useful."

Finally, the foundation says that Foster views his community as a "fishing community" first because each person depends directly or indirectly on fishing, "a way of life that foster wants to see continue for all Hatteras residents."

The awards will be presented during the foundation's annual gala, which this year will be on Friday, Nov. 4, at the Harbor Beach Marriott resort on Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Fla.

For more information, go to the Billfish Foundation website,

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