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Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival

FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – What do you get when you combine world-class fishing, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and world-renowned conservationist and artist Guy Harvey? A one-of-a-kind marine conservation festival and tournament in the Florida Keys!


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NSU is proud to be part of the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, to be held in the sportfishing capital of the world – Islamorada – in the Florida Keys. The three-day event is scheduled for June 16-19 2016, with management provided by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts.

Formerly named the Fort Lauderdale Billfish Tournament, the event has been moved to the historic Islander Resort for 2016, a Guy Harvey Outpost destination in Islamorada.

The event will include a premier, not-for-profit fishing tournament; innovative art exhibits featuring recycled materials, conservation organization displays and local vendors, all showcased in a 100 tent “Conchservation Village; cyber on-the-water release documentation for research using the IGHOfish App; and watersport demonstrations and competitions.

While there will be a fishing tournament as part of the event, like other Guy Harvey Outpost Bonfire series events, there is much more to the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival. Community engagement is at the heart of the weekend’s activities. The event will also aid in raising funds for marine sciences scholarships at the NSU’ Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography.

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“Once again NSU and Guy Harvey are teaming up to help today’s students become tomorrow’s marine researchers and scientists,” said Richard Dodge, Ph.D., Dean of NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. “We have a long-standing relationship with Dr. Harvey, and I am continually amazed at how much he wants to help students follow their dreams. This tournament promises to be fun, while at the same time continuing to add to Dr. Harvey’s legacy at NSU.”

The Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, managed by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, has targeted a fundraising goal of $100,000. NSU¹s Halmos College of National Sciences and Oceanography, home to the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), the Center of Excellence in Coral Reef Ecosystem Research and the Save Our Seas Shark Centre, will administer scholarship funds donated through the Guy Harvey organization.

“This will be an event as much as a fishing tournament,” said Mark Ellert, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts. “Like our other Bonfire series tournaments in the Bahamas, community engagement is a key and we have planned quite a weekend of activities that will stage an innovative ‘Conchservation’ Village to highlight ‘trash-to-treasure’ art exhibits and conservation efforts in the Florida Keys, live music, a trivia event and beach and wastersport competitions, a Rum Village and Kids Pier Fishing Tournament, fishing seminars and our traditional burning sculpture bonfire—this time a 15’ mako shark design beachside at the Islander Resort.” The bonfire sculptures themselves have a conservation theme given that they are created out of recycled metal by various local artists.

Each sculpture is designed with a specific fish species unique to each destination. Well known Islamorada artist Pasta Pantaleo will design the Blazing Mako sculpture for the tournament and festival. Pantaleo, recognized around the world as a gamefish artist, operates a popular gallery, Pasta Pantaleo’s Signature Gallery, at mile marker 81.5.

The Blazing Mako tournament, named for NSU’s mascot — the mako shark — will encompass an inshore and offshore division. Corporate team registration (offshore) for the non-profit tournament is $5,000 per team (six anglers). Inshore registration is also available for $2,500 (three anglers). Larger boats (26’ and up) will be accommodated by the Post Card Inn Marina and smaller (25’ or less) by the Islander Bayside Townhomes.

Internationally renowned sculptor Kent Ullberg, who designed the mako sculpture at the NSU main campus, has been commissioned to create a similarly designed perpetual trophy for the Ellert said more than 100 vendor tents will be onsite along with fishing seminars provided by professional and local guides, and free downloads of the iGHOFish app powered by iAngler that will allow anglers to log their catches, which can be used a valuable information for fisheries management.

In the case of the Blazing Mako tournament, the IGHOFish app will be used in documenting inshore and billfish catches along with photos and measurement before releasing the catches.

For more information on the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival please visit


About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. A private, not-for-profit institution with more than 24,000 students, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is 1 of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the  largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit for more information.

About NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography: The college provides high-quality undergraduate and graduate (master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates) education programs in a broad range of disciplines, including marine sciences, mathematics, biophysics, and chemistry. Researchers carry out innovative basic and applied marine research programs in coral reef biology, ecology, and geology; fish biology, ecology, and conservation; shark and billfish ecology; fisheries science; deep-sea organismal biology and ecology; invertebrate and vertebrate genomics, genetics, molecular ecology, and evolution; microbiology; biodiversity; observation and modeling of large-scale ocean circulation, coastal dynamics, and ocean atmosphere coupling; benthic habitat mapping; biodiversity; histology; and calcification. The college’s newest building is the state-of-the-art Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center, an 86,000-square-foot structure filled with laboratories; offices; seminar rooms; an
auditorium; and indoor and outdoor running sea water facilities. Please visit for more information.

About Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts: Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts is based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The company’s Signature Collection properties operate under the Guy Harvey Outpost brand name, with resorts currently in Florida’s popular destinations of St. Pete Beach and Islamorada. The newest Guy Harvey Outpost Resort will open on St. Augustine Beach in spring, 2016. Members of the company’s Expedition Portfolio are independently operated and managed boutique sized hotels and lodges in remote destinations that offer superior service and amenities. Member hotels enjoy access to Outpost marketing and its reservation system and on-line booking engine. Expedition Properties include three in the Bahamas: Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour at
West End and the Green Turtle Club and Blackfly Bonefish Lodge, both in the Abaco Islands, Hotel Playa Media Luna in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Southern Cross Club on Little Cayman Island and Ft. George Hotel in Dominica.

Through the company’s GHOFish program, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts promotes scientific angling expeditions, tournaments and charters. Expedition Outfitters an invitation-only collection of top-of-class dive shops and guided or charter boat fishing outfitters. Please visit for more information.