• President Obama on Friday signed into law the Billfish Conservation Act, which bans the importation of sailfish, marlin and spearfish in the continental United States. The new law resulted from collaboration among a diverse coalition of angling and conservation groups and rare bipartisan agreement in Congress. It does not apply to swordfish, which NOAA Fisheries deems fully recovered. Prior to the enactment, the United States was the largest billfish importer in the world.
NOAA Fisheries has announced it will re-open the commercial harvest of golden tilefish in the South Atlantic on Oct. 9, but the recreational harvest of the tasty, deepwater species will be closed for the remainder of the year. The agency says the golden tilefish stock is healthy, and it plans to increase the annual catch limit. But the recreational fishery will not re-open in 2012 because the annual limit was fulfilled earlier in the year.
• Unicorn, owned and skippered by Michael Peteler, was first to cross the finish line Saturday in the first leg of the 2012 Columbus Day Regatta on Biscayne Bay. The Creekmore/Croff 36 completed the course in about 1 1/2 hours. Third Tri, coskippered by Lawrence Geller and Brian Broad, was first multihull over the line. A fleet of 82 sailboats is competing in the two-day race, which resumes at 11 a.m. Sunday near Black Ledge. The largest one-design class in this year’s regatta are the Freedom Independence 20’s crewed by disabled sailors. The top finishers in each class will receive trophies in ceremonies Saturday at Miami’s Coral Reef Yacht Club.