U.S. – Implementation Challenges for The Billfish Conservation Act
The Billfish Conservation Act (BCA) of 2012 was signed into law on October 5, 2012 creating a positive step for billfish conservation! The Billfish Conservation Act will prohibit the sale or the possession with the purposes of offering billfish (sailfish, marlin, and spearfish) for sale in the United States. Two exceptions in section 4(c) are present that allow domestic vessels in Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Area to harvest and sell billfish. Additionally, the exemptions allow foreign vessels to land billfish in Pacific Insular Areas for exports of billfish outside of the United States.
The final step needed to make the Billfish Conservation Act effective is the development of both the regulations and implementation measures pertaining to the BCA legislation. Announced on April 4, 2013, The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is currently looking at the scope of the exemptions in section 4(c) and the possible use of a modified of billfish Certificate of Eligibility (COE) that is currently used to authenticate that billfish for sale are not from the Atlantic Ocean. NMFS is seeking comment on new regulations that would require that billfish for sale meet the exemptions of the BCA as well as what restrictions, if any, can be put on the trade and sale of billfish landed by U.S. boats in Hawaii.
On July 3, 2013 The Billfish Foundation submitted their official comments for the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012, Click Here.