Hawaii Court Confirms Marine Ban

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Hawaii court confirms marine ban
20th December 2017

By Sandra Pearce
 
A Hawaii court has upheld an earlier decision to ban the commercial collecting of marine fish for the ornamental trade.
 
Last month, the First Circuit Court – sitting as the Environmental Court – ruled that any and all existing aquarium fish permits issued to commercial collectors to date are illegal and invalid.
 
The new ruling upholds an earlier state Supreme Court ban on Hawaii’s aquarium fishing industry and there’s no timeline on when it will be lifted reports the Hawaii News Now.
 
The court order puts the aquarium fishing industry on hold, pending a review of the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA).
 
Earthjustice lawyer Summer Kupau-Odo has been challenging the state’s permit system, claiming that the impact to Hawaii’s reefs has never been properly studied.
 
He said: “DLNR has a duty to protect these resources for us today and for future generations. All of the existing permits are illegal, collection under them is illegal and no one should be out collecting for commercial profits. No one should be out taking our reef resources for sale elsewhere to make a private profit.”
 
In a statement, DLNR said: “The department continues to believe that existing aquarium fishing practices are sustainable and environmentally sound. And the department appreciates that dozens of local businesses and families depend on the industry for their livelihoods. But the department respects Judge Crabtree’s ruling and will fully comply so long as it remains in effect.”
 
Hawaii is a major source of commercial aquarium fish, most notably yellow tangs, andreports annual gross sales of $3.2m (£2.4m). The ruling does not impact recreational fishing permits, which authorise the collection of 1,825 aquarium fish every year.