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Billfish conservation measure advances


 
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Billfish conservation measure advances

By the International Game Fish Association

With the passage of the Billfish Conservation Act in the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives Aug. 1,  the United States is close to taking a strong stand in the conservation of one of the ocean’s most magnificent apex predators. Known formally as H.R. 2706, the bill received overwhelming bi-partisan support in committee – a good sign for billfish everywhere. But there is more work to be done to protect the future of these imperiled species.

Now recreational anglers must urge House leadership to schedule the Billfish Conservation Act for a speedy passage and encourage the Senate Commerce Committee to schedule a hearing for the bill as soon as possible. Keep America Fishing has made it easy to send a message to Members of Congress pressing them to support the Billfish Conservation Act. Those who wish to send a message to Congress can visit this site and enter a ZIP code, and letters are automatically generated to local representatives and Senators.

“Now is the time to tell leadership in Washington that they have an opportunity to make an important impact with recreational anglers,” said Rob Kramer, International Game Fish Association president. “This bill is a perfect example of how conservation legislation can result in enormous benefits to the economy while sustaining imperiled species at no cost to American taxpayers. This important step is great news for recreational anglers and for people working in tourism, sport fishing and marine businesses.”
— Aug. 15, 2012


Sport fish probably are high in mercury

By the Fish Fabulous Costa Rica staff

A report by the Central American Billfish Association gives a strong scientific reason for catching and releasing sports fish.

The report says that the eastern tropical Pacific, which encompasses an area including oceanic ecosystems off the Central American Isthmus, is prone to naturally occurring mercury contamination and pollution from man-made sources.

Volcanoes, which are quite prevalent in the region, are also major natural sources of gaseous and particulate mercury emissions that may lead to high concentrations in remote areas with major environmental implications, the report said. The summary on mercury in fish was an effort by Nelson Ehrhardt and Mark Fitchett of the University of Miami Billfish Research Initiative and Central American Billfish Association

The researchers said that other scientists from Oxford University found that a single volcano in Nicaragua, Masaya, emitted 7.2 metric tons of mercury per year and that this is more than total man-made emissions from most industrialized nations.

While mercury concentrations in lower trophic levels may not have direct deleterious effects on creatures within those trophic levels, mercury is fat soluble and accumulates dramatically in higher trophic levels up the food chain, the researchers noted. Consumption of apex predators, such as tuna, shark and billfish, by humans provides a health risk due to exposure of such accumulated heavy metals which have adverse health effects in the nervous, vascular, and renal systems, they concluded.
— Aug. 15, 2012









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