The History of the Spice Island Billfish Tournament
Grenada’s water is home to an abundance of game fish. The idea of a tournament held annually to bring anglers together in competition and camaraderie was pioneered by the founders Jim Needham, Louis Rostant and Martin Mathias in 1964.
These gentlemen built this tournament on the foundation of a love for game fishing. The beginning of the biggest tournament in the southern Caribbean dawned on the SIBT, as more businessmen and women began to get on board. Not only did the tournament hold an exiting place in the sporting calendar, but provided an opportunity to expose various brands to a close community.
After 10 years, Jim Needham, founding Chairman of the SIBT, stepped down and the current Chairman Richard McIntyre assembled a committee with other businessmen such as Fred Topin and Angus Minors.
Like any other organization, efforts towards sustainability became a key focus and driving force going forward. From conception to the late 90's the SIBT was classed as a 100% kill tournament, everything was killed. While this provided for a great spectator sport as well as food donations to homes and hospitals in Grenada, the effort to introduce the release of the Billfish became evidently important in preserving the unique aspect of the Grenadian waters. While we do not boast some of the larger weight records achieved in the sport, Grenada holds a large variety of billfish and the opportunity to achieve the Grand Slam keeps the excitement right up until lines up is called on the last day. In recognizing this unique opportunity we worked towards introducing a modified release. Careful guidance from Sid Johnson allowed us to set rules where by teams had to release fish under a certain weight. As anglers became more competitive, the rules allowed for greater rewards to be given to anglers of this practice.
In the late 90's there was less fish brought to the scale, however our yearly average of 50+ boats began to take shape.