H.R. 2706: Billfish Conservation Act of 2011

H.R. 2706

Billfish Conservation Act of 2011

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
September 10, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, September 10, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2706, the Billfish Conservation Act of 2011, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was introduced on July 29, 2011, by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark up and reported the bill, as amended, by unanimous consent on August 1, 2012.

Bill Summary

H.R. 2706 would prohibit the sale and possession of billfish or products containing billfish. The bill would exempt the State of Hawaii and Pacific Insular Area from this prohibition, but only for billfish sold in Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Area. Under the legislation, billfish would be defined as any fish of the following species:

  • blue marlin;
  • striped marlin;
  • black marlin;
  • sailfish;
  • shortbill spearfish;
  • white marlin;
  • roundscale spearfish;
  • Mediterranean spearfish; and
  • longbill spearfish.

The legislation would not prohibit the sale of swordfish.

Background

According to findings contained in the legislation, billfish populations are severely depleted and in need of greater protection. Billfish population declines are largely attributable to overfishing by non-United States commercial fishing fleets that harvest billfish caught while targeting other species. Commercial fisheries in the United States do not target billfish. The current United States prohibition on the commercial harvest and sale of billfish is limited to Atlantic-caught fish. There are no existing conservation measures that prohibit the importation of Pacific-caught billfish. Billfish account for less than 0.1 percent of the market value of United States seafood. The United States seafood market is highly elastic and consumers have a large number of sustainable seafood alternatives. Catch and release recreational angling for billfish generates billions of dollars in economic benefits to the United States economy each year.

Cost

According to CBO, implementing the bill would have no significant impact on the federal budget.