By Chuck Anderson
Published on Wednesday, August 22, 2012
U.S. House bill 2706, and a companion Senate bill, seek to ban the sale or possession of billfish for the purpose of commercial sale under the Magnuson Stevens Act. Recreational fishing interests already were able to ban commercial sales of east coast billfish. Now, they are pushing to ban all billfish, except swordfish, in the United States. Hawaii is exempted in this law.
Magnuson Stevens is about protecting and managing marine resources for the benefit of all US citizens. Commercial fishermen and seafood consumers are U.S. citizens too. Conserving fish populations for sport fishing is a good cause. Sport fishing is an important part of our heritage and our culture. Bill fishing is one of the great sport-fishing endeavors. It supports the lucrative and important sport-fishing industry.
However, we should not ban the commercial sale of marlin and other billfish to satisfy one special interest group. Our wonderful natural resources should be shared between commercial and sport fishermen for the benefit of all. This about the principal of making certain fish species only available to a select group to utilize and benefit from. It is exclusionary and infringes on the rights of commercial fishermen and seafood consumers.
Traditional commercial fish species such as cod, tuna, flounder, and swordfish should be, and are accessible for sport fishing. That is fair. Allowing responsibly managed commercial fishing and commercial sale of marlin and other billfish is also fair.
I encourage you to contact your two U.S. senators, and your U.S. representative to oppose this bill.