2024 IGFA Fish Art Conservation Award

For the past three years, the IGFA has partnered with on their highly popular and globally successful Fish Art Contest to help introduce more children to sport fishing and the importance of conservation. This year, the contest received 5,680 entries from 44 countries and 46 states within the United States. What was once a US-only 鈥淪tate Fish Art Contest鈥 has turned into a global effort to get kids connected to the outdoors through science, fishing, art, and creative writing.

The submissions received in all categories were spectacular, and the IGFA would like to proudly congratulate this year鈥檚 winner of The IGFA Conservation Award to Tedini Rathnayake a 12th-grade student from Sri Lanka!

IGFA proudly congratulates Tedini Rathnayake, a 12th-grade student from Sri Lanka, on winning this year's IGFA Conservation Award!

For The 2024 IGFA Fish Art Conservation Award, the focus of the award shifted to a new Debris Division to complement the IGFA鈥檚 Habits for Habitats Initiative and the Plastic Portraits Project to raise awareness within the recreational angling community, and beyond, that we need healthy habitats for healthy fisheries. Over the past several years, there has been an increased focus and global effort to understand how plastic debris is impacting wildlife in both fresh and saltwater habitats. Ingestion and entanglement are the direct and deadly effects of pollution on marine mammals, birds, sea turtles, and many fish species. The IGFA has launched this program to help raise awareness of these issues and encourage members of the recreational community to get involved.

The purpose of this new award category was to add important steps to the creative process. It encouraged youth to get outside and clean up game fish habitats, and to utilize that debris for their creation instead of tossing that debris in the trash. These pieces of art will help others become more aware of the global issue that plastic has on our waterways and the animals that reside there, in the hope that we all will make small changes to our day-to-day habits and plastic consumption. The impact of this award category is captured beautifully in Tedini鈥檚 story.  

鈥淚 still recall the first day I watched local news. Seeing a polluted beach and animals suffering from plastic consumption on the news at just five years old affected me deeply, leading me to rarely watch the news since then. The moment I saw the polluted beach, it stirred something deep within me, urging me to take action, whether it was cleaning up beaches or spreading awareness.
The ocean holds significant importance for Sri Lanka, serving as a vital part of our identity and livelihoods. It wasn't until I turned thirteen that I was able to participate in meaningful tasks. First, I started by writing essays and occasionally designing posters in school. However, my parents were hesitant to allow me to participate in activities such as beach cleanups, as they required substantial support and supervision.
Later on, I got involved with my school's Red Cross Society, which opened up the chance for me to join beach cleanups. That was a pivotal moment for me, turning a new chapter in my life. Together with fellow team members, I contributed to cleaning Wellawatte Beach in Colombo. It was a remarkable effort and a new experience for us. Of course, there were those who viewed our efforts as pointless and gave sarcastic laughs but, it did not let any of us down.
Crafting has always been one of my passions, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase my artwork and raise a silent voice to leave an exemplary message to protect the coastal landscapes and our animal friends. While words may not suffice, I extend my deepest gratitude to the 王中王六合彩特码 Game Fish Association for granting me this wonderful opportunity.鈥
Tedini Rathnayake,
Sri Lanka

Thank you Tedini for working to make a difference. Through the IGFA鈥檚 sponsorship of the Fish Art Contest, we plan to keep this Debris Division going, encouraging others to do so as well. The 2025 contest begins September 1, 2024, and we cannot wait to see what the students create next year!

To learn more about the Habits for Habitats Initiative and what you can do to help, visit: /habits-for-habitats-initiative/.

To view all category winners, visit: .