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Big Rock president responds to disqualification controversy, comparisons to 2019 tournament decision

President of the Board of Directors of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament Emery Ivey.
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament on Facebook
President of the Board of Directors of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament Emery Ivey.

The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament has released a video response to the controversy surrounding the decision to rule Sensation’s 600-pound blue marlin ineligible because of at least one shark bite.

In the Facebook video, the president of the Board of Directors of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament Emery Ivey said the rule is in place and the determination was made to disqualify in order to keep the playing field fair and level.

“Nobody gets an advantage. When you fight and land this fish, you have fought 100% of the fish. Nothing at any time during the fight of the fish did something happen that would give you advantage over the next guy.”

In the 2019 tournament, Top Dog's record-breaking 914-pound blue marlin was torn up when it was weighed at the dock, but was still declared the winner of the fishing contest. Ivey said the difference in the decision is that the fish was damaged after it was boated, and damage to the Sensation catch happened during the fight to land the big fish.

“Their situation specifically happened while they were fighting the fish," Ivey said. "The Top Dog’s fish happened when they bought the fish on the boat. So, the fish was already boated, the game was already over and they couldn't have acquired any penalties because they had already boated the fish.”

Annette Weston-Riggs
Public Radio East

After the D.Q., Sushi was declared the winner with a 484.5-pound fish

Sensation owner Ashley Bleau filed a formal protest over the ruling and has hired a lawyer.
Read more: Sensation owner files protest, hires lawyer after Big Rock Blue Marlin tournament disqualification

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to