The National Marine Manufacturers Association is encouraging its members to ask their lawmakers to support the bipartisan Billfish Conservation Act of 2011, to help restore billfish populations and improve recreational fishing opportunities by closing U.S. commercial markets to Pacific billfish.
“Marlin, sailfish and spearfish, collectively called billfish, are highly esteemed by recreational anglers, who practice catch-and-release fishing for these iconic fish while generating substantial income to the economy,” the NMMA said. “Unfortunately, as a result of commercial overfishing, primarily by foreign countries, stocks of these ocean fish are greatly depleted in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.”
It is illegal to harvest or import Atlantic-caught billfish into the United States, but fish caught in the Pacific Ocean flood U.S. markets in substantial numbers, threatening the survival of these fisheries.
The bill would have a negligible impact on the commercial fishing industry in the United States because billfish represent only 0.1 percent of all seafood sales, according to the NMMA.