Representatives from The Billfish Foundation attended a recent meeting with NOAA in which a swordfish retention expansion was discussed in the Caribbean. This proposed expansion applies to vessels in USVI and Puerto Rico with an (HMS) Commercial Caribbean Small Boat (CCSB) permit, Swordfish General Commercial permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit with a commercial endorsement on a non-for hire trip. The expansion of swordfish retention was proposed at levels ranging from zero to eighteen swordfish retained per vessel per trip.
We believe that only the most conservative expansion (up to six fish per vessel) should be considered or authorized. Additionally, we encourage NOAA to consider the effects of CCSB vessel length on how this new permit will be utilized.
Find below the comments that TBF submitted to NOAA in regards to this new legislation. Should you wish to read more about the proposed rule or submit a public comment, you can do so here. Comments are due by June 26, 2020.
To stay up-to-date on all things billfish and highly migratory species, become a member, subscribe to our monthly newsletter, visit our online shop, and follow us on social media, @TheBillfishFoundation.