Hawaii Ornamental Trade Under Threat From Bill

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Hawaii ornamental trade under threat from Bill
8th August 2017

By Sandra Pearce

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association is encouraging its members to sign a petition ‘against yet another attempt to curb the aquarium industry in Hawaii’.

The petition says that the US$7bn Hawaiian aquarium fishery is small, sustainable and highly regulated, but in its current form, Senate Bill 1240 would end the commercial collecting of Hawaii reef wildlife for the aquarium trade.

No new permits for aquarium fishing will be issued and the state will set rules for sustainable collection practices. It will also prohibit current permit holders from transferring them to other people.

The Bill has already passed the House and Senate and is now awaiting Hawaii Governor Ige’s signature before coming into force. It will require the Department of Land and Natural Resources to submit proposed legislation by January 2019 for ‘sustainable collection practices of near-shore aquatic life and limits on aquatic life collection’.

Roughly 35% of West Hawaii reefs have been closed to aquarium fish collection since 2000 – Hawaii’s main export is Yellow tangs, which comprises 84% of its catch, reports the Honolulu Civil Beat.

The petition states: “Please continue to let those who love pet tropical fish enjoy their pets as long as the fish are abundant and the fishery is sustainable.

“This bill would quickly lead to Hawaii fishes having astronomical cost increases, although most concerning is overlooking the comprehensive data collected over the years proving how incredibly sustainable the fishery is, which could pave the way for this to happen to other fisheries.”

The petition can be found at www.change.org/p/governor-david-ige-for-the-state-of-hawaii-oppose-hawaii-moratorium-to-new-aquarium-fish-permits-sb-1240?utm_medium=email&utm_source=notification&utm_campaign=petition_signer_receipt