Captain Rom Whitaker of Hatteras village is the winner for the charter boat captain’s category in the 2015 Governor’s Cup Billfish Conservation Series.
Whitaker, whose charter boat Release placed ninth overall in the competition, was awarded his trophy at a recent ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion in Raleigh. Whitaker won the Dale Ward Trophy is 2013.
Also winning an award at the ceremony was Judy Bonney, an owner of Hatteras Harbor Marina, where the Release is docked. Bonney won the Dale Ward Conservation Trophy, which recognizes an individual for efforts in billfish conservation in the sportfishing community.
The North Carolina Governor’s Cup Billfishing Conservation Series is an annual sportfishing series, operating cooperatively with eight major billfish tournaments held along the Tar Heel coast. The Series, managed by the Division of Marine Fisheries, promotes conservation, protection, and preservation of our marine resources.
Participating boats or teams are awarded series points for billfish caught and released and for billfish taken, which meet tournament minimum-size requirements. Penalty points are assessed for undersized fish taken, the emphasis being on fish released.
Trophies are awarded to boats with the most points in both the “private boat” and “charter boat” categories. Individual awards are given to the outstanding junior boy, outstanding junior girl and female anglers. In addition, trophies are awarded for the largest blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, and dolphin.
The Release also won in the category of largest wahoo for a 55.7-pound fish, caught during the Hatteras Grand Slam Tournament.
Randy Gregory, fisheries biologist for the Division of Marine Fisheries and in charge of this series said about Whitaker, “Rom has been a long-time participant in the series, serves on the NMFS Highly Migratory Species Advisory Board and is a well respected, conservation-minded captain, both in our state and along the East Coast.”
Whitaker is also on the board of directors for N.C. Watermen United, a group he helped form in 2005.