Take Marlin Off the Menu

Concerned about the health of billfish fisheries, the IGFA and the National Coalition for Marine Conservation joined forces in 2008 to create the Take Marlin off the Menu campaign. They discovered that in 2006, the United States was the single largest importer of billfish species, bringing in 1,335 tons with a value of $5.2 million based on FDA customs clearances.

The first course of action was clear: the importation of imperiled billfish species had to be stopped within the United States. In just two short years, the campaign gained the support of such luminaries as Wolfgang Puck and the Wegmans Supermarket chain – as well as the attention of US policymakers. Their support hinged largely on an Economic Analysis of International Billfish Markets which showed that the economic value of the US billfish trade is almost nil in relation to the rest of the US commercial fishing industry.

Although is was already illegal to harvest or import Atlantic-caught billfish into the US, fish caught in the Pacific Ocean were flooding into US markets in substantial numbers, threatening the survival of these fisheries. The Billfish Conservation Act closed US commercial markets to Pacific billfish, preventing their sale and importation (excluding Hawaii and Pacific Insular Island Area). Click here for a fact sheet about the Billfish Conservation Act.

The passage of this bill is good news for the US recreational fishing economy, which generates billions of dollars of marine-related jobs and sales, from a fishery where virtually all billfish are released alive. Restoring billfish populations will improve recreational fishing opportunities both in the US and abroad, which in turn will create more jobs and sales for boat and gear manufacturers, marinas, and sport-fishing industries.

The Billfish Conservation Act
Read the full text of the bill passed into law on October 5, 2012, effectively banning the importation of billfish into the United States.

Take Marlin Off the Menu
Learn more about the four-year campaign to end US billfish importation, including the research behind the effort.

Congressional Action
Watch review hearings and congressional speeches in support of the Billfish Conservation Act.

The support of conservation-minded groups and individuals was integral to the success of the Billfish Conservation Act.