International Game Fish Association Renews Support for The Art of Conservation® Fish Art Contest with new Debris Division

For Immediate Release

Contact: Addison Motta

White Bear Lake, MN – Wildlife Forever and the International Game Fish Association will continue their partnership for the 2024 Fish Art Contest. All with a new twist. The IGFA Conservation Award will feature the new Debris Division. Student artists competing for this award must conduct fresh or saltwater habitat cleanups in their community and use the plastic waste or found objects to create their artwork of a game fish.

The new competition will help feature IGFA’s Habits for Habitats initiative and the Plastic Portraits Project. The goal is to raise awareness within the recreational angling community and beyond that healthy habitats are needed for healthy fisheries.

 “A habitat cleanup is an easy way for youth to connect to nature around them and better their community. Wildlife Forever is excited to use the Fish Art Contest as a way to encourage repurposing of plastic waste,” said Pat Conzemius, Wildlife Forever’s President and CEO.

For several years, there’s been an increased global effort to understand how plastic debris is affecting wildlife in both fresh and saltwater habitats. Ingestion and entanglement are direct and deadly effects of pollution on marine mammals, birds, sea turtles and many fish species. The IGFA is launching this program in an effort to raise awareness of these issues and encourage members of the recreational community to get involved. Click here to learn more about the IGFA’s habitat programs.

“The Plastic Portraits Project began six years ago as a summer camp activity and has since evolved to be so much more. Art pieces have made their way to fundraisers and galleries while spreading our conservation message,” said IGFA Education Director Lisa Morse. “I’m proud to see this program continue to grow and look forward to the positive impacts youth will have on their local waterways.”

The IGFA has the following suggestions when creating your artwork.

  • For the collected debris, utilize a bleach/water solution to clean and sanitize the materials.
  • Properly dispose of (recycling when possible) any collected debris not used in the artwork.
  • For the base, the artist may use wood, canvas, cardboard, or any other solid structure to hold the debris.
  • Other materials like glue, scissors, and paint can be used in addition to plastic waste/found objects to create the piece.

The IGFA has the following recommendations to remain safe while conducting habitat cleanups.

  • Always go with a buddy and/or an adult.
  • Please never trespass on Private Property.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially of potential dangers like cliffs, holes, rough seas, wildlife, etc.
  • Utilize protective gear like gloves, sunscreen, shoes, hats, etc.
  • Avoid picking up sharp objects or have an adult assist in safely removing those objects.
  • Contact your local wildlife organization if you come across injured wildlife.

Learn more about the 2024 contest, find educational resources, submit your entry, and more at The 2024 Contest is open through February 28th, 2024.

About the International Game Fish Association (IGFA): Established in 1939, the IGFA is a nonprofit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rulemaking, record keeping and recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the field of angling. To learn more about the IGFA habitats programs, please visit: