The Billfish Foundation
The Billfish Foundation (TBF) is a nonprofit organization with the mission of conserving billfish worldwide. TBF was founded in 1986 and our keystone program, the traditional tagging program, was created in 1990. Today, it has grown to be the largest international billfish tagging program in the world.
The Billfish Foundation believes that achieving effective, long-lasting conservation is only possible through a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates policy, research, and education. We are involved in many committees and organizations that inform policy and management of billfish and associated species, including the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council, the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, and the NOAA Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel. We have been instrumental in the preservation of the Florida East Coast Closed Zone and Gear Restricted Areas in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. We also promote angler and sportfishing rights by advocating for the allowance and promotion of catch and release fishing throughout the world.
The cornerstone of TBF is our Tag & Release Program, which receives over 10,000 tag and release records annually from across the globe, totaling to over 260,000 since its inception. From these data we have learned more about billfish life history, including migration patterns, habitat utilization, growth rates, release mortality, and more. This information is vital in creating and advocating for responsible policy and management of billfish globally, which is why we freely share these data with international researchers and managers. In addition to our traditional Tag & Release Program, TBF also funds and participates in satellite tagging. Satellite tagging differs from traditional tagging in that the tags administered convey finite, real-time information to researchers. Our satellite tagging activities have resulted in the publication of numerous research articles on billfish movements and habitat utilization. Only through our traditional and satellite tagging research can we ever hope to fully understand these fish and, thus, to protect them for generations to come.
Finally, TBF believes that education is vital to long term conservation. We attend sportfishing tournaments and other ocean-related events to teach anglers and ocean enthusiasts about the importance of catch and release fishing. We also have two semi-annual youth publications that we send to schools throughout the United States to educate children on how to keep our oceans healthy. Additionally, we use our website, www.billfish.org, and social media to keep anglers and stakeholders involved and educated on current issues so that they may also be responsible and active conservationists.
The Billfish Foundation is proud to work with so many wonderful organizations, like Ladies Fish-Off, to ensure that billfish are around for generations to come. Only through working together to conserve the health of our oceans and billfish can we truly fish forever!
The Flite Center
The Fort Lauderdale Independence, Training and Education Center (FLITE), created by The Junior League of Greater Fort Lauderdale, The Community Foundation of Broward and the United Way of Broward County, opened its doors in 2009 offering comprehensive and seamless service delivery for youth and young adults ages 13 to 23 involved in the child welfare system. The FLITE Center is the collaborating piece of a comprehensive system of care for transitioning youth. FLITE is the repository of the TIL Database which makes data across more than a dozen service providers available for this population, a concept that is unique to Broward County.
Along with our partners, expanded, enhanced, and additional services and supports can now be seen across all domains and are pulled into one convenient location for the youth’s access. All of these services are coordinated county wide through the TIL System of Care Steering Committee and the TIL Life Coach Meeting, both of which are chaired by the FLITE Executive Director. Over 50 Life Coaches and over 20 agency managers/directors from roughly 15 different agencies throughout Broward participate in both meetings and look to FLITE to steer the ship on system improvements and on filling the gaps for rising needs. Working in partnership with each other as well as many other service agencies in the community has increased our ability to fully serve and support youth facing any number of barriers, especially homelessness.
Programs provided by FLITE are TIL Housing Coordination, TIL Education Coordination, TIL Employment Coordination and TIL Systems Navigation. FLITE Center’s programs operate year-round, Monday-Friday.
FLITE Center is responsible for Broward County’s housing coordination as it pertains to TIL youth and is the ONLY approved agency that can partner with tax credit property owners to acquire, place and manage aged out foster youth in affordable, safe housing units throughout the county.
This level of resource coordination and the availability of core programming in a one-stop center, produces positive changes in our youth and ultimately leads to successful outcomes.
So far, this year FLITE Center has severed 1,520 youth. Assisting 460 youth secure safe, affordable housing, linking 238 to employment opportunities and helping 96 received GED instruction and/or linkage to post-secondary education.