The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is over, but the controversy surrounding its final results is not.
The owner of the fishing boat Sensation, which had its 619.4-pound catch disqualified on Sunday morning due to rules regarding “mutilation,” has protested the decision that cost them $3.5 million in winnings and handed $2.7 million of that haul to Sushi and its 484.5-pound catch, according to WITN.
Sensation’s catch on Saturday’s final day of the tournament immediately drew attention at the docks when two shark bites were noticed on the fish. Big Rock emcee Tommy Bennett immediately announced that the rules committee would deliberate and make a decision on the eligibility of the catch. The disqualification was announced on Sunday morning.
“The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament follows IGFA rules regarding mutilated fish as outlined in Rule #23 in the Big Rock Official Rules,” the Big Rock said in a statement. “IGFA rules state that the following situation will disqualify a fish: ‘Mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals, or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh.’”
Sensation would have won the $2.7 million instead claimed by Sushi along with the $739,500 Fabulous Fisherman prize given annually to the first boat to land a blue marlin exceeding 500 pounds.
According to WITN, Sensation owner Ashley Bleau and boat captain Greg McCoy are arguing that the rules of the tournament are not consistent and that 2019 winner Top Dog’s 914-pound catch also fit the description of mutilation but was still declared the winner. The report also says Bleau has retained the Wheatley Law Group of Beaufort to further escalate the controversy if the formal protest does not result in an overturning of the disqualification.