A bid to ban marlin from restaurant menus in New Zealand is gaining momentum, with a leading recreational fishing group adding its weight to the calls.
New Zealand's oldest fishing club, the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club, started the nationwide campaign to help protect declining stocks of the fish, which it said were being ravaged by commercial fishing.
Now, at its latest AGM, the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council adopted a supportive stance and urged consumers not to buy marlin products. It said it will suggest retailers and restaurants take the fish off their menus.
Tauranga Game Fishing Club manager Grant Holley said very few restaurants had marlin on the menu.
"I think it's more emotional really big beautiful marlin ending up on a plate."
The club had not discussed the matter but it was highly unlikely that the club would have it on the menu, Mr Holley said.
The added support comes just days after United States President Barack Obama signed into law the Billfish Conservation Act, which will ban the importation of all billfish, including marlin.
In 1988, the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club was instrumental in a memorandum of understanding under which commercial fishing companies agreed not to catch marlin in New Zealand waters. But marlin caught outside New Zealand waters can still be sold here.
New Zealand has a world class recreational fishery for large striped marlin, with 24 of 26 line class world records caught in national waters, including the heaviest of 224 kg. But marlin, as well as yellowfin tuna fish stocks, have been dwindling for several years.
Both organisations calling for the ban say taking marlin off the menu will send a clear message that anglers are serious about protecting the fish.