Atlantic Billfish and Swordfish: Best Fishing Practices

Atlantic Billfish and Swordfish: Best Fishing Practices I’m Lieutenant Wynn Carney with NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement. Billfish such as swordfish, marlin, and sailfish are some of the most coveted fish in the ocean. They give anglers a great fight, but, many offshore anglers are unaware that removing a billfish from the water can hurt the billfish and cause it to die. It’s illegal to take an Atlantic billfish out of the water, unless it’s going to be retained. Just a few minutes of taking the billfish out of the water can severely reduce the chances of the billfish survival, even if it’s just for a photograph. When billfishing, here are a few things to remember: reduce fight time by using heavier tackle; use circle hooks, which are less likely to hook a billfish in the throat or gut; keep the fish in the water while measuring the fish and removing the hook. You could rig a measuring device such as marking the gunwale of the boat or making a pole and putting marks on the pole, that you could put in the water to measure the fish. If you can’t safely remove the hook, you want to cut the line as close to the hook as you can. Never gaff the fish in the body. To help revive the fish, slowly tow it in the water for a few minutes, until its color comes back. Make sure you keep the water flowing over the gills. It will make sure the fish gets oxygen. Learning how to release the billfish healthy and unharmed will ensure that billfish will be around for future generations. If you are going to retain your billfish, please report it to NOAA Fisheries within 24 hours. [music] Billfish and Swordfish – Best Fishing Practices 1. Never take out of the water. 2. Reduce fight time – use heavy tackle. 3. Keep the fish in the water while measuring, removing hook. 3. Use barbless circle hooks. 4. Cut line close to hook if you cannot remove it. 5. Never gaff the body. 6. Revive fish before releasing. 7. Keeping it? Report it within 24 hours to NOAA Fisheries. Credits

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