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6th - 8th August 2010
The Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge
The RPBIC is an annual off-shore fishing competition initiated in 2004 by theJoran Unit of Berita Harian, a popular Malay language national daily newspaper in Malaysia.
For the past four years it has been held at the sea off the town and serene beaches of Kuala Rompin in Pahang, about 125 km south of Kuantan.
The Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge takes advantage of the active migration season of the billfish, such as marlin and sailfish (istiophorus platypterus), passing the Rompin area from the northern hemisphere to their destination in Australia, between March and September.
This annual billfish migration, passing through the area in their thousands, could be tracked via satellite. And one reason for their presence in the area is the abundance of shoals of anchovies and other small fish to feed on.
The reefs at Rompin, namely Karang (Reef) DO, Karang Cha, Karang Batu Mati, Karang Bubu, Karang Luas, Batu Berhala, Karang Rompin, Batu Saga and Tukun Tayar provide some of the best resting places for the billfish before they move on.
This was observed during the three years that the Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge competition was held.
One of the objectives for the Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge is to attract tourists to the state of Pahang, especially those who seek adventure and eco-friendly sports.
The tourism industry in fact contributes about RM1.5 billion to Pahang state's annual revenue, with about 5 million tourist arrivals to the state in 2006.
Hotels in Pahang, especially those along the beautiful beaches, have benefited from the increase in tourist arrivals.
Growing Popularity of the Annual Challenge
The Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge has grown in popularity and participation since its inception in 2004.
The growing interest is indicated by the increase from 23 teams with 69 participants in 2004, to 33 teams and 99 participants in 2005. And in 2006, the number of participants increased to 120 with 40 teams.
In 2006, teams from 13 foreign countries took part. Besides Malaysia, the sailfish enthusiasts came from Singapore, the Phillippines, Japan, China, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Indonesia, France and United States of America.
Also an indicator of the competition's popularity, during RPBIC 2005, 87 sailfishes were caught and tagged, while in 2006, the number tagged were 185.
There were 133 participant in 2007 and 144 participant in 2008
The organiser, the Joran Unit of Berita Harian newspaper, with the sponsorship from the Pahang State Goverment and the support of the Ministry of Tourism, plan to attract at least 250 sailfish fishing enthusiasts in 50 teams from all over the world, to participate in the Royal Pahang Billfish International Challenge 2008.
Copyright © 2011 . Joran Unit . Berita Harian. The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad.