U.S. Sen. David Vitter today encouraged the House Natural Resources Committee to pass the Billfish Conservation Act during their markup tomorrow, August 1, 2012. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) is the House sponsor of the same bill Vitter has introduced in the Senate.
"My Billfish Conservation Act has strong bi-partisan support in the Senate, so if the House acts tomorrow, the Senate Commerce Committee should soon. Our efforts -- three years in the making -- have significant support from the sport-fishing and conservation communities. Louisiana is known as the sportsman's paradise and we understand that it's important to protect this majestic species, a real prize of recreational fishing," Vitter said.
There is already a ban on commercial harvest and sale of Atlantic?caught billfish, but not on Pacific-caught billfish. The Vitter-Miller legislation would put a ban on the sale of Pacific-caught billfish.
Billfish, which include sailfish, spearfish and marlin, are experiencing significant depletion in their population due to commercial overfishing. Billfish are important to the ecosystems because they are seen as predators in the ocean or near the top of the ocean food chain.
In addition to improving the conservation concerns, restoring billfish populations will improve recreational fishing opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad, and that creates jobs and sales for U.S. boat and gear manufacturers, and U.S. marina and sports?fishing industries.