Hawaii Senate Considers Fishing Ban Bill



Hawaii Senate considers fishing ban Bill
19th February 2018

By Sandra Pearce
A Bill that could end Hawaii’s commercial collecting of marine fish for the ornamental trade is being heard by Hawaii’s Senate Land & Water Committee. 
Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that any and all existing aquarium fish permits issued to commercial collectors to date are illegal and invalid, effectively putting a ban on Hawaii’s aquarium fishing industry. The court order put the aquarium fishing industry on hold, pending a review of the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA).
Hawaii Senate Bill 2003 bans the issue of all new aquarium fishing licences starting on July 1, 2018. Hawaii is responsible for 93% of the yellow tang in world’s aquariums.
“Hawaii Senate Bill 2003 will close one of, if not the, most responsible fisheries in the world,” said trade body Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) vice president Robert Likins. “This Bill will put people out of work and risk the lives of licensed divers by limiting their ability to have licensed, qualified diving partners. And it will do nothing to protect Hawaii’s pristine waters.
“PIJAC has worked with fishers and scientists to defend this environmentally and economically sound industry. The fact is that study after study has concluded aquarium fishing is sustainable and has no appreciable impact on the environment.”
He added: “Regretfully, Senate Bill 2003 will put people in danger or out of work for no reason other than to kowtow to extreme activists’ viewpoints – not sound science, the safety of divers, or the needs of families across the islands.”
In response to the Supreme Court’s decision, the industry and regulators are working to conduct new research about the sustainability of the aquarium fishery.