In the wee hours of Saturday morning, September 22, the U.S. Senate passed the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012. The bill will now go to President Obama for his signature into law.
The historic vote came just before the Senate plans to recess and makes the act among the few bills to pass in this partisan session.
The International Game Fish Association has been a primary advocate for the legislation for several years, along with the National Coalition for Marine Conservation. IGFA president, Rob Kramer, cites “our congressional champions — especially senators David Vitter (R.-La) and Bill Nelson (D.-Fl) and Representative Jeff Miller (R.-Fl) — are absolute heroes to recreational anglers.”
Kramer also lists the leadership and members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus as “a uniting and driving force toward enactment of this important legislation since day one,” as have other recreational-fishing organizations such as the Center for Coastal Conservation, Keep America Fishing and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.
“The United States already has the world’s strongest conservation measures in place for billfish, the lions and tigers of the sea,” says NCMC president Ken Hinman. “This legislation will help us seek similar measures internationally, where commercial overfishing has severely depleted populations of these magnificent ocean giants."