Anyone who has ever had the joy of fighting–or just seeing–a billfish as it rises from blue water, with colors blazing and big eyes flashing defiance, can understand why the experience of seeing one listed on a menu is a shock to the soul. Some things are just too majestic to put at the mercy of the commercial market, much less appear on your plate.

Yet for decades that was the case–and to the shame of America’s sportsmen, the biggest market in the world for billfish was the U.S. The nation with the greatest fish and wildlife conservation legacy on the planet was also a leading cause for the steady decline of these majestic creatures.

Well, that cause was finally eliminated recently when President Obama signed the Billfish Conservation Act of 2001, capping a four-year struggle led by the International Game Fish Association to ban the import of marlin, sailfish and spearfish in the continental United States.

This will surely rank as one of the IGFA’s many signature conservation efforts, so who better to tell the tale than Jason Schratwieser, Conservation Director of the International Game Fish Association.