HONOLULU (24 March 2017) A bill introduced in the US Senate in mid-February to amend the
Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 would negatively impact Hawaii’s commercial fisheries. It is generally estimated that 20 percent of Hawaii billfish catch (about 550,000 pounds) is sold to US mainland seafood markets annually at a worth of approximately $600,000 in landed, wholesale revenue. The existing law allows billfish landed by US fishing vessels in Hawaii and the US Pacific territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands to be sold in markets on the US mainland. The proposed amendment would prohibit it. The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, during its 169th meeting this week in Honolulu, voiced concerns about the proposed legislation and will provide information to the Secretary of Commerce on the stock status of Pacific billfish and the economic impact of the introduced amendment. The Council noted that US mainland sport fishing tournaments target billfish and requested information from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on the estimated number of billfish killed in these US mainland tournaments and whether or not the billfish retained goes to local consumption.
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