Caribbean Billfish Workshop hosted at IGFA

Caribbean Billfish Workshop
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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 November 2012 on the Assessment of Socio-Economic Impacts of Recreational Fishing, attended by IGFA President, Rob Kramer and Conservation Director, Jason Schratwieser.

Experts from 11 countries and 10 international and regional organizations were in attendance at the recent workshop. In addition to discussing the progress of the Manual on Economic Impact that the

working group finalized in the November meeting, they also approved a pilot project proposal which will introduce billfish management and conservation to the Western Central Atlantic region, which will be submitted for funding consideration by the World Bank in April of 2013.

Although decisions regarding billfish management are ultimately under the authority of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the working group emphasized that much progress can be made with strengthened and collaborative partnerships between relevant stakeholders, including small-scale, recreational, and commercial fisheries, the fishing fleets of distant countries, the tourism industry, researchers, managers, non-governmental organizations, and others.

“Billfish have been poorly managed by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) for nearly three decades,” IGFA’s Schratwieser said. “We hope that educating Caribbean countries on the importance of billfish and the development of a regional management plan will yield positive result at ICCAT in the future.”

A future workshop on billfish conservation and management in the Caribbean region has been proposed for the Seventh World Recreational Fishing Conference, which will be held at the State University of Campinas in São Paulo State, Brazil on September 1st through 4th, 2014. Learn more at www.worldrecfish.org.