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September 11, 2012

Billfish Conservation Act Passes the House

Legislation to prohibit the sale of billfish in this country is one major step closer to becoming law.

The Billfish Conservation Act has passed overwhelmingly in the United States House of Representatives.

That’s good news for stocks of marlins, sailfish and spearfishes worldwide since it puts the legislation, which would prohibit the sale of these species in the United States (with exceptions in Hawaii), one step closer to the desk of President for his signature.

The remaining step, a major one, is passage by the Senate.

The legislation will “help turn the tide on rapidly declining stocks of sailfish, marlin and spearfish,” says Rob Kramer, president of the International Game Fish Association, which has pushed hard to get H.R. 2706 passed. “This is great news for recreational anglers and for people working in tourism, sport fishing and marine businesses.”

Although the United States has strong conservation measures in place for billfish, it remains the largest importer of billfish.

Kramer commends Florida Congressman Jeff Miller for his efforts and adds, “Now we look forward to working with our Senate champions to pass this historic legislation.”

There is already strong bipartisan support for the legislation in the Senate, adds Ken Hinman, president of the National Coalition for Marine Conservation, which has also been a primary driver for passage of the law.

“The U.S. already has the world’s strongest conservation measures in place for billfish,” Hinman says. “This legislation will help us seek similar measures internationally, where commercial overfishing for billfish has severely depleted populations."

Although the United States has strong conservation measures in place for billfish, it remains the largest importer of billfish. The Billfish Conservation Act would end that paradox.