Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation Programs
The following are descriptions of some of our current programs.
In 1992, the PBCFF Board of Directors approved the creation of the John Rybovich Endowment. This special fund was established to help ensure the financial stability and growth of the institution. To date, over $1,000,000 has been contributed. The principal is invested with a long-term balanced strategy. Funds are professionally managed and regularly audited. Only earnings are used to help support board approved projects. Our goal is to raise over two million dollars. Reaching this financial milestone will help perpetuate educational and conservation initiatives and will give the foundation the ability to launch new programs.
For several decades, the PBCFF has awarded scholarships to students studying marine sciences at area universities and high schools. The PBCFF has presented a marine biology scholarship to a deserving undergraduate student at Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBAU) since 1994. The foundation has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with PBAU’s Biology Department faculty members for many years.
For nearly 20 years the PBCFF has awarded the Capt. Al Nathan Memorial Scholarship for a marine biology graduate enrolled in Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. Capt. Al Nathan was a lifetime member of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and active in many of the club’s programs. We honor his legacy through this meaningful scholarship program.
In 2018, the PBCFF added a second award at FAU, The Dennis G. Punches Marine Science Fund, for a graduate student whose post graduate work involves the use of acoustic telemetry. This special award is helping expand locally based marine research efforts and fisheries data collection efforts.
The PBCFF / WPBFC also provides annual scholarship awards at Forest Hill High School’s Gale Academy of Environmental Science and Technology, Jupiter High School’s Environmental Academy and at the City of Rivera Beach.
It’s all about introducing kids to fishing and our marine environment! Since 1988, the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation, along with the assistance of volunteers and important community partners like the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County has conducted an annual Kid’s Fishing Day Program.
The PBCFF’s Rods & Reels for Kids program was developed in 2001 under the leadership of the late Jim Ewing. The goal of this program is simply to place fishing tackle into the hands of kids and local youth groups that do not have adequate resources to obtain their own gear. Thousands of rod and reel outfits have been donated to kids from throughout the region including Boys & Girls Clubs, Scouting & church groups, and municipal recreation departments. The PBCFF purchases new tackle and collects used fishing from the public, which fishing club volunteers refurbish for distribution.
Palm Beach County has experienced tremendous coastal. As a result, loss of natural marine and estuarine habitat, increased fishing pressure and other environmental stressors have all contributed to a depletion of biodiversity and abundance. The PBCFF has identified and helped initiate specific projects designed to help improve our marine environment.
The WPBFC and PBCFF has a long history of collaboration with the scientific community and game fish research efforts. In fact, a state operated marine laboratory was once housed inside our historic facility. Our ties with the marine science community remain strong. Through the years the WPBFC/PBCFF has supported various cooperative game fish tagging efforts for snook, dolphin, sailfish and more. In 2019, the PBCFF embarked on a new game fish research partnership with the FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) lab in Tequesta, Florida. The PBCFF supports ongoing game fish research by purchasing acoustic telemetry receivers and transmitter tags which are donated to the lab. The PBCFF is helping expand an acoustic array that monitors the movements and behavior of tagged species of fish and other marine animals like sea turtles. Some receivers are stationed at our Reef Dart locations to assist with the monitoring of these artificial reefs. Our support is contributing to a coast-wide data collection effort being conducted by numerous researchers all along the Atlantic seaboard. The PBCFF continues to collaborate with the FWRI lab to increase the number of acoustic receivers stationed off our coast and the number of fish tagged with transmitter tags. These efforts help gather important data that is used to sustainably manage marine species.
The PBCFF/WPBFC is an active advocate for issues relating to sustainable fishery management practices and habitat protection. We are frequently solicited to submit comments to fishery managers and government agencies on a variety of issues. We also host meetings with various resource managing agencies. Additionally, the PBCFF supports other organizations like the Coastal Conservation Association, Wild Oceans, the Dolphinfish Research Program and The Billfish Foundation.
Founded in 1934, the West Palm Beach Fishing Club is one of the oldest and largest institutions of its kind in the country. Our facility was added to the West Palm Beach Register of Historic Places in 1998. The building has become a repository of sport fishing memorabilia, trophy game fish mounts and historical photographs which document the evolution of fishing in the region. As the curator of archives, the PBCFF is taking steps to preserve the history of sport fishing in the region and our unique role in Florida’s history. The U.S. Department of Interior added the WPBFC to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.