Casts + Blasts
The angling community applauds the U.S. Senate for passing a bill to amend the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012, which bans importation of all billfish caught by foreign fleets into the United States.
Questions arose over whether the same prohibitions imposed by the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 also applied to billfish caught commercially in Hawaii, which if allowed to be transported to the U.S. mainland would circumvent the intent of the conservation measure.
S. 396, the bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senators Bill Nelson, D-fla.; Marco Rubio, R-fla.; Jerry Moran, R-kan.; and Joe Manchin III, D-W.VA., and passed by a voice vote in October, clarifies that billfish landed in Hawaii must be retained there.
“The original intent of the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 was to protect billfish, not to remove a foreign market and supplant it with a domestic one,” said Jason Schratwieser, conservation director for the International Game Fish Association.
This piece of legislation removes all ambiguity by clearly stating that absolutely no marlin, sailfish or spearfish will be sold in the continental U.S.
Prior to the passage of the Billfish Conservation Act, the United States was the number one importer of billfish in the world, so U.S. calls for greater billfish conservation in international fishery management circles were often met with skepticism and disregarded.
“The passage of S. 396 brings us one step closer to closing the U.S. market for billfish and protecting these majestic fish as Congress originally intended five years ago,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy.