Conservation News

IGFA Conservation Awards

Recreational angling and conservation groups are applauding the overwhelming support for Senate Bill 1017 that would phase out the use of harmful and archaic drift gill nets off California's coast. The Bill now moves to California Governor Jerry Brown to be signed into law.

Read more >>




IGFA Conservation Awards

Once per year, the Forage Fish Research Program awards two fellowships to graduate students at Florida universities to work with Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWRI) to investigate unknown linkages between forage species and their dependent predators, their relationships to essentail fish habitat, and their response to climate change and environmental impacts. After the chosen fellows finish their research projects, they present their findings at the annual Forage Fish Data Workshop.

The workshop summary report details the 2017 fellowship project results and describes the fellowships that were chosen for 2018. Congratulations to:

Jonathan Peake of USF who will be studying community structure and dynamics of forage fish in the eastern Gulf of Mexico

Brittany Troast of UCF who will be doing a comparitive analysis of forage fish community dyanmics among Florida's east coast estuaries.

Read the full summary report here




IGFA Conservation Awards

The IGFA is concluding its work in the Caribbean Billfish Project (CBP) that began in 2015. The goal of this project is to recapture lost wealth and contribute to sustainable livelihoods in the Western-Central Atlantic region through investment in innovative management and conservation approaches.  A new comprehensive brochure is now available that highlights key outcomes of the CBP over last 3 years. The brochure contains links to published desk studies that provide new insight into status of billfish resources, management approaches and stakeholder perceptions in the Caribbean region. Read More>>




IGFA Conservation Awards

The IGFA, along with a coalition of recreational angling organizations are applauding the introduction of a recent bill that aims to phase out the use of mile-long drift gillnets  Read More>>




IGFA Conservation Awards

The IGFA recently joined a coalition of anglers and conservationists in Washington D.C. for the America's Everglades Summit to discuss the future of the Everglades, which have endured nearly a century of poor water management. Read More>>




IGFA Conservation Awards

Western Atlantic bluefin tuna are severely depleted and need your help. NOAA Fisheries may eliminate proven conservation measures that are reducing bluefin bycatch and waste on U.S. pelagic longlines.  Read  More>>


IGFA Conservation Awards

Three weeks ago, IGFA hosted the Fifth Meeting of the CBMC where attendees presented and discussed efforts to support improved management and conservation of billfish resources in the Western Central Atlantic. Read  More>>

IGFA Conservation Awards

Read reports from various 2017 Caribbean fisheries meetings here>>

IGFA Conservation Awards

Proceedings from the 6th International Billfish Symposium have been published in ICES Journal of Marine Science. You can find it here>>


IGFA Conservation Awards

IGFA recently named Theresa Labriola, Bouncer Smith, Steve Yatomi, and Patagonia the 2018 Conservation Award winners for their leadership on a range of angling-related conservation topics.  Read the Press Release here>>



The IGFA is now beginning year three of the Caribbean Billfish Project (CBP) where ongoing studies are taking place in Grenada and the Dominican Republic. Read More>>


Last year, IGFA joined 35 experts from 26 organizations in Barbados for the 3rd Regional Workshop on Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation. The three-day conference focused upon resolving declining trends in billfish stocks across the Western Central Atlantic and sought to address ongoing challenges to sustainably manage billlfish harvests in the region. The report is now available and you can read the report here>>




Read IGFA & Wild Oceans letter to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, urging them to authorize deep-set buoy gear as a limited entry fishery in order to promote market stability for California swordfish and to reduce gear conflict with anglersRead More >>



Tomorrow kicks off the 6-day red snapper mini season in South Atlantic Federal aters where anglers are allowed to harvest one red snapper, of any size, per day on November 3-5 and November 10-12, and are encouraged to report red snapper catches and releases via Read More >>



Billfish are currently considered bycatch within many Caribbean fleets although they provide food and revenue to many citizens. Fishing experimental trials will be conducted next month to see if using circle hooks can improve tuna catches, the preferred catch, which may reduce the incentive for fishers to target billfish. Read More >>



Do you fish in the Caribbean for billfish? IGFA is conducting a survey to help determine the value of recreational billfishing in the Caribbean and the results will help conserve blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish, and spearfish. The survey takes 5 minutes and in return, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of 10 IGFA-engraved YETI Rambler valued at $50 USD. The drawing will take place Dec 1, 2017.





Conservationists and anglers are applauding the U.S. Senate for passing a bill to amend the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012 Read More>>


menhaden matters

This November, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will make an important decision regarding the future of menhaden management – providing a historic opportunity to invest in the future of the resource and improve both fishing and ecosystem health. We need your help to make this rulemaking a success. Read More>>



IGFA in conjunction with Western Central Atlantic Fishery Commission (WECAFC) sponsored a session on the Caribbean Billfish Project Read More>>



Grenada, one of the chosen pilots countries in the Caribbean Billfish Project (CBP), hosts a CBP workshop Read More>>



Gentner Consulting Group assembled a team to conduct Fishery Performance Indicator studies in two pilot countries for the Caribbean Billfish Project. Read More>>



IGFA joined Wild Oceans, Coastal Conservation Association of California, and the American Sportfishing Association to convey support for deep-set buoy gear for commercial swordfishing. IGFA Trustee Bill Shedd says that his "sense is that this partnership between Wild Oceans, ASA, IGFA, and CCA CAL is playing an important role that will ultimately eliminate drift gill nets off CA and not allow long lines to replace them"  Read the letter here>>




IGFA joined 35 experts from 26 organizations in Barbados on April 3-6, 2017 for the 3rd Regional Workshop on Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation. The three-day conference focused upon resolving declining trends in billfish stocks across the Western Central Atlantic and sough to address ongoing challenges to sustainably manage billlfish harvests in the region. Read more>>




A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation yesterday to amend the Billfish Conservation Act of 2012, making it clear that the original intent of the Act was to prohibit sales of any marlin, spearfish or sailfish in the mainland United States, regardless of who catches them or where.

The senate bill would not only close mainland markets to all Pacific billfish including those caught under the Hawaii exemption, but it would strengthen enforcement of the billfish prohibition nationwide while minimizing regulatory costs.  Read more>>




The IGFA is gearing up for year two of the Caribbean Billfish Project. During the first year of the project, a series of studies investigating the socioeconomic, scientific, and legal aspects of billfish management in the Caribbean were conducted and published. This year, two pilot studies will take place in Grenada and Dominican Republic, and potentially, a satellite tagging project focused on assessing marlin habitat in the Western Central Atlantic. Read more>>



6th International Billfish Symposium Call for Papers

All publications were funded by the GEF/ World Bank supported Caribbean Billfish project (GCP/SLC/001/WBK) for which the FAO/WECAFC is the executing agency. The studies that led to these publications were made possible through partnerships with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM), Organization for Fisheries and Aquaculture of Central America (OSPESCA), the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations (CNFO), the Caribbean Fisheries Management Council (CFMC) and many others. FAO/WECAFC is grateful for the support received from all partner agencies and individual experts. Click Here to See the Publications >>


6th International Billfish Symposium Call for Papers

Last week at the 75th Annual Meeting of the ASMFC in Bar Harbor, Maine, many coastal fisheries were discussed, including two big decisions for Atlantic menhaden. The first was whether or not to increase the TAC, and the second was whether or not approve a public information document (PID) for Draft Amendment 3 which would develop ecological based reference points to reflect Atlantic menhaden’s role as a forage species More Info >>


6th International Billfish Symposium Call for Papers

The first scientific publication by our partners at Stanford University, using all IGMR Data, has been published in Fisheries Oceanography. Influence of temperature and oxygen on the distribution of blue marlin in the Central Pacific Ocean. Click Here to Read It >>



6th International Billfish Symposium Call for Papers

We welcome abstract submissions for contributed oral presentations, posters, and videos, as well as suggestions for roundtable discussions, for a truly multidisciplinary audience on management, assessment, movement & habitat utilization, and basic biology More Info>>


Caribbean Billfish Management Plan

The new publication "Caribbean Billfish Management and Conservation of the WECAFC/OSPESCA/CRFM/CFMC Working Group on Recreational Fisheries", FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture report  No. 1137. Bridgetown, Barbados. More Info >>



Caribbean Billfish Management Plan
  Despite being popular with recreational anglers around the globe, there is still quite a bit that we do not know billfish biology and ecology. The IGFA recently traveled to Ecuador where they assisted experts in collecting DNA samples from striped marlin for genetic testing. More Info >>


Caribbean Billfish Management Plan
  50 experts from over 20 countries from the Caribbean region and the USA met on November 9, 2015 in Panama City, Panama for the 2nd Regional Workshop on Billfish Management and Conservation. More Info >>


Caribbean Billfish Management Plan
The National Park Service recently released the final General Management Plan (GMP) for Everglades National Park, which includes several changes that will affect recreational boating and fishing access and habitat conservation in the park.
The recreational fishing and boating community expressed its collective appreciation to Everglades National Park officials for meaningfully addressing concerns that were raised during the GMP development process. More Info >>

Caribbean Billfish Management Plan
  For the last year, IGFA has been working with other conservation groups and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to elevate the importance of forage fish in Florida. At the June Commission meeting, the FWC made a commitment to manage forage fishes in ways that support abundant fisheries stocks in order to maintain Florida’s reputation as the “Fishing Capital of the World”.  While this initial effort is focused on Florida, the concept of effective forage fish management is international in scope and something the IGFA intends to work more on in the future. More info >>

Caribbean Billfish Management Plan

Billfish species make significant contributions to the Caribbean economies, livelihoods and food security through two very distinct fisheries- commercial and recreational.The IGFA has been selected as the lead recreational fishing organization for the Caribbean Billfish Management Project and will...More>>


Red Snapper Agreement
  The directors of the state fish and wildlife agencies from Alabama, Florida, Lousiana, Mississippi, and Texas announced an agreement for state-based management of Gulf of Mexico red snapper More>>

  The 19th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas took place in Genoa, Italy on November 10-17.  As usual, Atlantic bluefin tuna were the center of attention, but shark conservation measures and illegal fishing were also topics of discussion. Please click through to read IGFA’s position statement and learn more. More>>

   The newly established South East Queensland Inter Club Game Fishing Challenge’s trophy has been named after IGFA Representative Albert Threadingham and his wife Pauline Threadingham to honor their hard work in assisting the participating clubs to run their tournaments successfully. The Challenge is comprised of over eight tournaments and was organized by Tony Cross of the Sunshine Coast Game Fishing Club. More>>



Managing forage fish to meet the needs of predatory fish is a growing topic in the United States and elsewhere.  It only makes sense that for anglers to have a high abundance of game fish there needs to be adequate forage for them to feed on.  Recently, Captain John McMurray opined about this subject in the Mid-Atlantic United States on his blog. Have you taken the forage fish pledge yet? More>>

New All-Tackle Record Lionfish

IGFA Responds to Journal Publication Criticizing World Records
  The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) reports that Pacific bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) stock abundance is precariously low. Pacific bluefin constitute a single Pacific wide stock with spawning occurring only in the western North Pacific Ocean. Some proportion of the stock undertakes long migrations from the eastern North Pacific Ocean to Mexico and southern California, where they may reside for several years before migrating west again to spawn. Spawning takes place around age three and Pacific bluefin may live as long as 20 years. More>>

New All-Tackle Record Lionfish

IGFA Responds to Journal Publication Criticizing World Records
  On September 25th, IGFA hosted a meeting to discuss reporting requirements for Atlantic tournaments that fish for highly migratory species (HMS) such as billfish, tuna and sharks. In attendance were tournament directors from a number of premier fishing tournaments and staff from the HMS branch of the National Marine Fisheries Service and IGFA. The objective of the meeting was to establish dialogue between NMFS staff and tournament directors regarding reporting requirements for Atlantic HMS tournaments. More>>

New All-Tackle Record Lionfish

IGFA Responds to Journal Publication Criticizing World Records
  A recent paper published online in the journal Marine Policy titled "Trophy fishing for species threatened with extinction: a way forward building on a history of conservation" makes claims that the IGFA is responsible for stressing fish populations by rewarding anglers who target “trophy fish” for IGFA world records. This paper has been widely circulated in other publications and social media, creating misperceptions about IGFA’s World Record Program and how it impacts imperiled species on a global level. In response, IGFA has submitted a rejoinder to Marine Policy that identifies some of the flaws in the paper’s conclusions. More>>

New All-Tackle Record Lionfish

Capt. Mike Murias with the new All-Tackle lionfish
  The invasion of western Atlantic and Caribbean waters by two voracious lionfish species (Pterois volitans and P. miles) is a continuing concern to anglers, scientists, and resource managers; research has indicated that populations of these venomous predators are growing exponentially with significant negative impacts on important marine resources. But one enterprising captain recently found a world record opportunity when he reeled in one of the exotic-looking fish, bringing new attention to the ways anglers can be part of the solution. More>>

Third longest at-large bluefin tag recovered

bluefin tuna
  IGFA Representative and IGFA Hall of Fame Inductee Captain Al Anderson has probably tagged more Atlantic bluefin tuna than any other individual.  The NMFS Pelagic Game Fish Tagging Center (Miami) has tracked his tagged bluefin tuna for well over five decades now, starting in the late 1960's.   At the present time over 4,700 plus Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) have  carried NMFS tags deployed from Anderson’s vessels....More>>
Senator Vitter Moves Fisheries Allocation Policy to the Fore
red snapper
  Senator David Vitter (R-La.) announced yesterday that he would “hold” the nominee to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) until he received a commitment that NOAA Fisheries would address the ongoing failure of the Agency to implement its own allocation policies and to provide some leadership and direction to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council...More>>
Trinidad and Tobago Ends Local Trawling
Trinidad and Tobago flag
  In a positive step towards aiding struggling fisheries, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago last week joined Australia, Brazil, Canada, and similarly conservation-minded countries in banning bottom trawling in their waters. Trawling – the practice of dragging large nets to dredge the water and sea bed, resulting in very high levels of unwanted bycatch and habitat destruction – has long been identified as one of the most harmful industrial fishing practices...More>>
2014 IGFA Conservation Award Winners Announced
IGFA Conservation Awards
  Sportsmanship and conservation go hand in hand – anglers who hope for more and bigger fish tomorrow invariably understand the need to release catches they make today. Since 1993, the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has been recognizing superlative achievements in fishing conservation with the annual IGFA Conservation Awards...More>>
Call to Action: Sign the Petition to Protect Bluefin Tuna
bluefin tuna
  Recreational anglers can help end the waste of bluefin tuna in the U.S. and ensure that surface longliners – not sportsmen – are held accountable for incidental bycatch. The International Game Fish Association has sponsored an online petition and is asking for anglers to sign on...More>>
Sen. Vitter Draws Line for Red Snapper Allocation
red snapper
  Senator David Vitter (R-La.) announced yesterday that he would “hold” the nominee to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) until he received a commitment that NOAA Fisheries would address the ongoing failure of the Agency to implement its own allocation policies and to provide some leadership and direction to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council...More>>
Massive Population Decline in European seabass
European seabass
  An assessment by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has revealed that European seabass (Dicentrarcus labrax) have suffered a massive population decline in the Northeast Atlantic, reaching their lowest point in two decades. With a drop of more than 20%, the crash is not only a concern to the commercial fishery, but also to the recreational fishing community that considers the species to be a prize catch...More>>
Billfish Conservation Act Closer to Complete Ban on US Mainland Billfish Sales
IGFA and Wild Oceans logos
  When the Billfish Conservation Act (BCA) was signed into US law nearly a year ago, conservationists worldwide cheered that the globe’s largest market for imported marlin, sailfish, and spearfish would soon be closed. Although the challenge of getting a bill passed through the legislative process was won, there is still work to be done to make sure the BCA will be properly enacted....More>>
  Change, transformation, and adaptation in recreational fisheries is the theme of the Seventh World Recreational Fishing Conference (WRFC), and the first call for papers is now open. Abstracts addressing any of the conference’s sub-themes may be submitted online for consideration for the September 2014 event...More>>
  The comment period for the National Marine Fisheries Service Advanced Notification of Proposed Rule Making for the implementation of the Billfish Conservation Act has closed. IGFA has submitted these comments to NMFS to reinforce that the intent of the Billfish Conservation Act was to close the continental U.S. to foreign-caught billfish as well as those caught in Hawaii and the Pacific peninsular region. Read full comments here >>
  Tournaments around the world are becoming increasingly concerned with conservation and ethical fishing practices. Every year, more events adopt catch-and-release formats and promote the use of circle hooks to support healthier fish releases. The Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament is one of the latest...More>>
  Want the facts on Australia's marine parks and the proposed lock out zones for recreational anglers? Check out this new video from Keep Australia Fishing...More>>
  The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) will host an International Billfish Symposium at its headquarters in Dania Beach, Florida during August 2015.  The event will be co-chaired by Jason Schratwieser, Conservation Director for IGFA, and Dr. David Kerstetter, director of the Fisheries Research Laboratory at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center.....More>>
  The International Game Fish Association and Columbia University have partnered to develop a new application – called IGFACatchLog – that will allow anglers to contribute to fisheries data collection efforts using Apple’s iPhone. As they near completion of a pilot version of the App, the IGFA is offering anglers the opportunity to....More>>
  The International Game Fish Association has long supported closing the Gulf of Mexico to surface longlines. But in an uncommon collaboration, this position is gaining new momentum as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prepares a new proposed regulation for the region as early as next month....More>>
  On March 19th and 20th, the IGFA hosted a workshop in conjunction with The Billfish Foundation on the preparation of a billfish management and conservation plan for the Western Central Atlantic. This meeting was a follow up to the workshop in...More>>
  IGFA President Rob Kramer and Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser are currently attending the 18th Special Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) in Agadir, Morocco.  Billfish conservation measures are a hot topic this year, as the most recent stock assessments for blue and white marlin…More>>
  The first year of the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) has come to a close, with six tagging events helping to deploy 24 satellite tags in blue and black marlin in three oceans. A total of 12,070 nautical miles (nm) have thus far been tracked from the tags on these majestic game fish, but one tag…More>>
  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…More>>
  After four years of work, recreational anglers and ocean conservationists can today celebrate a rare feat: the Billfish Conservation Act passed the Senate and is now headed to President Obama’s desk for his signature.  Very few bills have become law this Congress due to partisan disagreements, but the Billfish Conservation Act has been overwhelmingly supported…More>>
  Recreational anglers and ocean conservationists scored a big victory in Congress on Monday, September 10, 2012 as the Billfish Conservation Act passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives.  The bill still must pass the Senate where it has the support of both Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio as well as David Vitter of Louisiana and…More>>
  With the passage of the Billfish Conservation Act in the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives on August 1, 2012, the U.S. is close to taking a strong stand in the conservation of one of the ocean’s most magnificent apex predators. But there is more work to be done…More>>
  (Washington, D.C.) – Recreational anglers scored a big victory in Congress today as the Billfish Conservation Act advanced in the House of Representatives when it was unanimously approved by the Natural Resources Committee for future floor consideration. With only minor modifications, H.R. 2706, which was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.)…More>>
  The US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is accepting public comments on Amendment 7 to the Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan regarding longlines and their impact on Atlantic bluefin tuna. We ask you to join the IGFA, the Center for Coastal Conservation, the Coastal Conservation Association…More>>
  The Australian Government is on the verge of locking all recreational anglers out of over 1.3 million square kilometres of Australia’s oceans for Marine Parks. These areas include internationally renowned iconic Game and Sport fishing locations such as Shark, Osprey, Marion and Kenn Reefs in the Coral Sea and…More>>
  The IGFA is developing a fish recognition app - allowing anglers to identify their catch with a click of the smartphone - but we need your help! In partnership with Columbia University, the IGFA is currently developing the first ever visual recognition app for fish for the iPhone.  This technology will assist…More>>
  Recreational anglers – whether weekend fishermen, world record hunters, or tournament competitors – are becoming increasingly conscious of the need to conserve the fish they love to pursue. As they call for more and better science to strengthen the health of fisheries the world over, they have also looked for ways…More>>
  Four hundred and nineteen nautical miles later, the fifth fish tagged during the inaugural IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) has become the first fish to have a tag pop off. IGMR marlin number five, caught by angler Norman Pichardo during the San Juan International Billfish Tournament…More>>
  In 2007, the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), IGFA and other national and California sportfishing groups formed the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans (PSO) , and since that time ASA and other PSO members have been actively working to keep waters open in California as the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative…More>>
  (Dania Beach, FL) — Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) teamed up Friday, August 29, 2011 with 11 additional Members of Congress to introduce bi-partisan legislation in the Senate and House—The Billfish Conservation Act of 2011—that will help restore billfish populations that are badly depleted by...More>>
  Canned tuna, tuna steaks, tuna sashimi – no matter how you eat it, tuna is one of the most popular choices for fish consumption. But a paper released earlier this month suggests that the high demand for some species of tuna is endangering their future. In a first-time collaboration between international…More>>
    (WASHINGTON, D.C.) –A bill introduced by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) seeks to ensure that the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Fisheries Service is required to set catch limits based on sound science. The bi-partisan legislation, known as the Fishery Science Improvement Act (FSIA), is endorsed by…More>>
  IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser recently attended the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Advisory Panel (AP) that was held in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA on April 5-7.  Overall, there were three major topics, all interrelated, that may affect recreational anglers. On April 1, 2011 NMFS announced…More>>
  Longline fishing in the Gulf of Mexico results in tremendous bycatch of imperiled billfish, bluefin tuna and other pelagic species. It is time we rethink how we commercially fish in this body of water. In Switching Gears: Surface Longlining in the Gulf of Mexico, produced by Pew Environment Group…More>>
  The United States National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has issued a proposed rule to require the use of “weak hooks” on pelagic longline vessels fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is the only known spawning ground for critically imperiled western Atlantic bluefin tuna and large, reproductive…More>>

Barracuda Research Support Letter