ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA — The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation advanced the Billfish Conservation Act, a move that is receiving applause from conservation angling groups.
The bill, introduced in February by U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), was pushed forward without amendment during an executive session May 18, 2017.
This bill would be a follow-up to the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012, which banned the importation of all billfish caught by foreign fleets into the continental United States and set the bar for other countries to improve their billfish conservation efforts. Prior to the passage of the Billfish Conservation Act, the U.S. was the number one importer of billfish in the world.
The newest bill would answer questions about billfish caught commercially in Hawaii — and whether the same prohibitions on foreign-caught billfish would apply. SB 396 clarifies that billfish caught in Hawaii must be retained there.
Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy, said it is important to advance “this important correction” and he is hopeful “that Congress will acti quickly to finally ensure that the United States stands firm as the leader in billfish conservation.”
The International Game Fish Association also praised the bill. President Rob Kramer said it “brings us one step closer to ensuring that these magnificent fish are properly protected.”
Joining the Center for Sportfishing Policy and the IGFA in the supporting coalition includes: the American Sportfishing Association; The Billfish Foundation; Coastal Conservation Association; Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation; National Marine Manufacturers Association; OCEARCH; and Wild Oceans.
See photos in the below link of these magnificent animals taking to the air.