IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
July 29, 2011
Mr. Vitter (for himself, Mr. Nelson of Florida, Mr. McCain, and Mr. Whitehouse) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To prohibit the sale of billfish.
This Act may be cited as the
Billfish Conservation Act of
Congress finds the following:
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 as bycatch 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.
Prohibiting the sale of Pacific-caught billfish in the continental United States will assist in the recovery of billfish populations worldwide.
Statement of constitutional authority
The Congress enacts this Act pursuant to clause 3 of section 8 of article I of the Constitution.
Prohibition on sale of billfish
No person shall offer for sale, sell, or have custody, control, or possession of for purposes of offering for sale or selling billfish or products containing billfish.
For purposes of section 308(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1858(a)), a violation of this section shall be treated as an act prohibited by section 307 of that Act (16 U.S.C. 1857).
Exemption for traditional fisheries and markets
Subsection (a) does not apply to the State of Hawaii and Pacific Insular Area as defined in section 3(35) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1802(35)), except that billfish may be sold under this exemption only in Hawaii and the Pacific Insular Area.
In this section, the term billfish—
means any fish of the species—
Makaira nigricans (blue marlin);
Kajikia audax (striped marlin);
Istiompax indica (black marlin);
Istiophorus platypterus (sailfish);
Tetrapturus angustirostris (shortbill spearfish);
Kajikia albida (white marlin);
Tetrapturus georgii (roundscale spearfish);
Tetrapturus belone (Mediterranean spearfish); and
Tetrapturus pfluegeri (longbill spearfish); and
does not include the species Xiphias gladius (swordfish).