I have not gotten a chance to look at the most recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in print or online, so I can’t take credit for this find. Dave Ferrell, the editor of sister publication Marlin Magazine did, however, get a chance to scope out SI‘s swimsuit coverage, and he wasn’t too happy with what he found. Though I’m sure he was more interested in the articles than the photos, if you chase billfish and are hip to the issues surrounding billfish conservation, you too might not be keen on seeing a dead sailfish worn like a scarf.
From the story on Marlin’s website:
Some of the general public, possibly Sports Illustrated, may just look at this sail and think it’s a smelly dead fish — no skin off their backs. We hope that the next time Sports Illustrated releases its swimsuit issue, it gives more thought to its prop choices. No dead fish, no dead animals and certainly not one that is being used as a fashion accessory. This is the magazine’s 50th anniversary of the coveted swimsuit edition, and they have been around so long for a reason. This could have been an attempt to bring controversy or to bring more eyes to the issue. SI has been seen as creating controversy. First, it was nearly naked women that angered some of the public. Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition seems to be well past that, and now, a new audience could be outraged.
I happen to agree that this shot was poorly thought out. If you want a model to pose with a dead fish, make an intern Google the species and do a little research to be on the safe side. In Madagascar where the photo was taken, eating billfish is probably common. But SI isn’t making magazines for the native peoples of their shoot locations. If she was holding a yellowfin tuna or dolphin, I don’t think anyone would be as upset. You can read the full article here.