Billfish Conservation Act
The law, in general, prohibits any person from offering billfish or billfish products for sale, selling them, or having custody, control, or possession of them for purposes of offering them for sale
The Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 was signed into law on October 5, 2012 and amended on August 2, 2018. The Act’s definition of billfish exempts swordfish, but includes black marlin, blue marlin, longbill spearfish, mediterranean spearfish, sailfish, shortbill spearfish, striped marlin, and white marlin.
Section 4(a) prohibits any person from offering billfish or billfish products for sale, selling them, or having custody, control, or possession of them for purposes of offering them for sale. The law treats a violation of the Billfish Conservation Act as an act prohibited by Section 307 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Section 4(c) exempts billfish caught by U.S. fishing vessels and landed and retained in Hawaii or Pacific Insular Areas from the general prohibitions on sale and custody with the intent to sell. It also exempts billfish landed by foreign vessels in the Pacific Insular Areas and exported to markets outside the U.S. or retained within Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Areas for local consumption. The sale of Atlantic billfish has been prohibited by regulation since 1988.
In passing the Billfish Conservation Act, Congress recognized the conservation challenges facing billfish populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Congress found that, despite careful management of domestic billfish fisheries, global billfish populations have declined significantly because of overfishing primarily through retention of bycatch by non-U.S. fishing fleets.