The historic Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 offered one of sport fishing’s greatest legislative victories ever.
Many of that legislation’s supporters would have preferred it be inclusive for all 50 states, but, in the end, the only way to get the act through the Senate was to exempt Hawaii for the “traditional fisheries and markets” in that state and neighboring islands. The reason given: Consumption and local sale of billfish represented a cultural tradition.
Now, however, without further restrictions to the act, this exemption may turn into a very different animal from the exemption as intended, with large-scale fisheries for marlin and export to the U.S. mainland.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is seeking public comment until early July on what restrictions should be imposed on the transportation and sale of billfish landed in Hawaii and other Pacific Islands (in the Pacific Insular Area).
Let NMFS know that recreational anglers, being staunch conservationists, support regulations prohibiting the sale of billfish outside of Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Area. Those billfish caught and landed in Hawaii should be sold and eaten in Hawaii, not in California, New York or elsewhere.
Wild Oceans (formerly National Coalition for Marine Conservation) is collecting signatures for a sign-on letter to the NMFS. Simply click here to sign on and in about one minute, know your voice has been heard in support of Pacific billfish.