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For decades, anglers wanted their trophies, a photo of themselves with their fish, and a sign showing the weight of the vanquished. Then came the realization that the fish didn't need to be killed, and the conservation movement began encouraging a "catch-and-release" program, returning to the water whatever wasn't to be eaten. In recent years, the world's sportfishing factions have been battling Mexico's powerful commercial union because the Mexican government enacted a law that would enable Mexico's many commercial long-liners, as well as gillnet and seiner boats, to fish very close to Mexico's coast, practices that would quickly decimate the fragile fish stocks off Mexico's west coast and into the Sea of Cortez. For more information, go to www.seawatch.org. The Billfish Foundation is leading the fight against the newest Mexican shark regulation, which would allow boats within 24 km (15 miles) of the Sea of Cortez and 32 km (20 miles) of Baja's west coast, and does not restrict by catch. It supports a bill in Mexico's congress at this writing that would roll the no-commercial-fishing zones back to 80 km (50 miles) offshore, and to 161 km (100 miles) off the coast of Los Cabos. A 2009 study conducted by the foundation concluded that sportfishing provides, directly or indirectly, 24,000 jobs and an annual $630 million to Los Cabos' economy. More info can be found at www.billfish.org.
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