No Impact From Netting Marines Says Trade

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‘No impact’ from netting marines, says trade
24th September 2018

By Sandra Pearce

Hawaii’s aquatics industry has published its final Environmental Assessment and says it has found no significant impact in its use of fine mesh nets to capture marine fish for the ornamental trade.

The report covers the nearshore region to depths of 600ft around the island, except in regions already designated as no-collection areas, reports the Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Representing the trade is the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, which said it is considering its next steps.

Spokesman Bob Likins said: “The fishers are open to discussing limitations on take or licences, but do not want any numbers being discussed to be arbitrary. We believe that the EA/EIS process would identify if there is a need for such limitations in order to ensure sustainability, and what those limitations should be.”

In October 2017, Hawaii’s state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced it had stopped issuing and renewing aquarium fish collection permits. In April this year, it went on to rule that all recreational aquarium collection permits were also void, bringing the collection of marine ornamentals for the trade to a halt. Hawaii’s main export is Yellow tangs, with 84% of its catch being this iconic fish.

The state environmental agency disagrees with the industry that resuming commercial fishing licences will have no significant environmental impact.

DLNR chairwoman Suzanne Case has outlined eight factors that should be taken into consideration in a full-fledged environmental impact statement, as opposed to the less detailed environmental assessment the industry is proposing.

She said: “We also note that there are no bag limits for most species, and that the fishery as currently regulated does not limit the number of permits, so that the annual take as a percentage of estimated population could rise significantly.

“Alternatives of overall annual take limits, a limited entry aquarium fishery program and restrictions including full moratoria on the take of herbivores, species of special concern and species evidencing severe population declines have not been proposed or analysed.”