Times writer recognized for outdoor columns
Martha's Vineyard Times news editor and Gone Fishin' columnist Nelson Sigelman was honored on Feb. 11 by the New England Outdoor Writers Association (NEOWA) with awards for his news coverage and his regular column.
A story Mr. Sigelman published on June 2, 2005 for The Times' Jawsfest supplement, about the change in the way humans regard even the least known and scariest of sea creatures, the great white shark, won first prize in the Outdoor Writers Association annual contest. Of the shark phenomenon, Mr. Sigelman wrote: "Thirty years ago a movie about the visit of a great white shark to a small New England coastal community made people afraid to enter their backyard pools. Celluloid images of a ravenous fish snacking on the inhabitants of Amity did not do much to help the public image of sharks, either. Despite the fact that the average person was far more likely to be killed and entirely devoured by a deranged next-door neighbor, the shark became a public enemy. Newspapers across the country carried photos of fishermen posing like members of a proud old west posse with a dead white shark, jaws pried open for sinister effect.
"But as the Jaws franchise reached depths of movie-making absurdity in sequels, marine scientists raised concerns as the number of sharks of all kinds declined under the pressure of overfishing. The general public, which had always considered sharks the mortal enemies of Flipper, the human-loving dolphin in the popular television series, slowly began to understand that sharks also had a place in the environment.
"Fast-forward almost 30 years after the making of the movie Jaws to the small, elite coastal community of Naushon Island just across Vineyard Sound from Martha's Vineyard. On Sept. 21, 2004 a 14-foot, 1,700-pound female great white shark was discovered swimming lazily around in a deep, narrow inlet leading north from Lackey's Bay at the east end of Naushon."
Click here to view "For two weeks last year, a great white's visit was no movie"
Mr. Sigelman's column of Oct. 13 last year, entitled "In Derby's waning days, Island girl measures up" took second place among outdoor columnists. Mr. Sigelman wrote, in part, "With less than a week to go before the end of the 60th Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish derby, a 12-year-old up-Island girl kept a firm grip on her fishing rod in a driving rain and heaving swells to overcome a 49-pound striped bass and show that the Vineyard fishing classic is not just a big boy's game. Officially, the 51-inch long bass tipped the Derby scale Sunday night at 49.22 pounds. On Monday, Molly Fischer of Aquinnah, a West Tisbury School seventh grader, was the overall grand leader in the Derby boat bass division, as well as the leader in several other junior and women's categories. The only person possibly more excited than Molly and the crowd of delighted derby fishermen and awestruck onlookers who watched her struggle to drag her fish up to the derby weigh station scale Sunday evening was her proud dad, Albert Fischer 3rd, an Island caretaker and lifelong sportsman."
Click here to view "In Derby's waning days, Island girl measures up"
Marc Falco, NEOWA contest chairman, said the competition was especially stiff this year, with exactly 100 entries submitted and many new writers participating.
The New England Outdoor Writers Association was established in 1942 by dedicated outdoor writers, concerned about natural resources, conservation and our outdoor heritage. NEOWA is the oldest regional outdoor writers organization in America. It is a non-profit, professional and educational organization, whose membership includes most of the top names in the outdoor communication industry.