OCEAN CITY — The following is the full statement, published on the tournament’s website, by White Marlin Open President James Motsko.
“On August 9, the winning angler in the White Marlin Category, provided catch information for the white marlin which, as it turned out, would be the sole qualifying white marlin in the tournament.
“Subsequent investigation as required by the Rules & Regulations of the White Marlin Open indicated a possible violation of the rules. Accordingly in an effort to achieve utmost fairness, the White Marlin Open Directors met with the independent Judges and complete information was provided to the Judges for their input with regard to the issue of the potential violation of rules.
“After much discussion, and providing evidence of the possible violation of the tournament rules, the Judges agreed that the prize would not be awarded to the boat catching the qualifying white marlin, but would, in accordance with the rules of the tournament, be withheld pending the determination of the proper recipient of the prize money.
“The White Marlin Open strives to obtain the highest integrity and level of transparency in fairness in all of its award and determination of adherence to the Rules & Regulations in all cases. It is for these reasons that the Tournament Directors, in coordination with the independent Judges in the tournament, have made the determination to withhold the winning prize until it can be ensured that the prize is being paid to the proper recipient thereof.”