July 12, 2014 10:49:02 PM
Distressed by billfish as menu item
I was appalled to see an ad in this newspaper from a local restaurant advertising blue marlin fish as a special. According to the biologist for the International Game Fish Association, (IGFA), the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (under the Billfish Conservation Act passed by the U.S. Congress) has for some time now declared it illegal to import any billfish: blue, striped, or white marlin; spearfish or sailfish into the mainland U.S.
First let me say I am not a tree hugger, nor a member of any of the sportfishing organizations who worked to get this law passed. I am an avid fisherman who catches and eats many sustainable species of fish, but not billfish. I have been fortunate enough to have caught, but released alive these magnificent sportfish. They are in decline worldwide due to commercial overfishing.
Many top chefs across the country, and locally, voluntarily took billfish off their menus even before importing billfish was outlawed. Unfortunately, even though I have previously discussed this problem with the owners of more than one local restaurant, they persist in serving billfish. I would encourage diners to not order billfish, which may be high in mercury as well as being illegal to import. Inform the owner of your concern, and if the restaurant persists in serving it, vote with your pocketbook and go elsewhere. For more information, please go to wildoceans.org or billfish.org.
William Ford M.D.