Billfish Conservation Act

On October 5, 2012, President Obama signed the Billfish Conservation Act into law, effectively banning the importation of all billfish into the continental United States. The signing marks the culmination of a united undertaking by a diverse coalition of angling and conservation organizations working in cooperation with a bipartisan group of congressional champions.  Although there are no commercial fisheries targeting billfish in the US, the US has been the largest importer of billfish in the world, importing about 30,000 billfish annually.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) to provide background information and request public comment on potential issues related to the implementation of the Billfish Conservation Act (BCA) of 2012. Language in the BCA 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.  However, there is a section that exempts billfish caught by U.S. fishing vessels and landed 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.

NMFS is seeking the public’s views on the potential scope of any future regulations to implement the BCA, including the scope of these exemptions. The IGFA, along with other recreational fishing organizations, is in the process of developing comments for the ANPR and will be posting talking points and more detail on how to file public comments in the near future.


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.