An amended HB 873HD1 regulating the aquarium fishery will be heard by Committee on Judiciary on Friday at 3:00 p.m. in the State Capitol’s Conference Room 325. Testimony must be received by the Committee no later than 3:00 p.m. Thursday, February 26 Hawaii time.
The text of the bill:
Chapter 188, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
Aquarium fish conservation program.
There is established within the division of aquatic resources the aquarium fish conservation program for the purpose of regulating the collection and trade for aquarium purposes of fish and other aquatic life. The program shall implement conservation measures and strategies to:
Ensure the continued sustainability of the State’s fisheries;
Preserve the continued health and ecological balance of coral reef environments throughout the State’s waters;
Protect species of reef fish and other aquatic life in accordance with state and federal law, with particular consideration given to species endemic to the waters surrounding the Hawaiian islands; and
Monitor and enforce compliance with state and federal law applicable to marine and water resources, including the Coastal Zone Management Act.
The aquarium fish conservation program shall include:
Designation of limited-entry areas for the collection of fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes;
Development of certification requirements and other conditions of eligibility for aquarium fish permits issued under section 188-31 and special activity permits issued under section 187A-6 for aquarium collection activities;
Monitoring of permit-holders’ continuing eligibility for an aquarium fish permit under section 188-31;
A limit on the number of aquarium fish permits issued annually under section 188-31, and provisions for the transferability or non-transferability of permits;
Bag and catch limits for fish and other aquatic life;
Enhanced penalties for noncompliance with applicable laws, administrative rules, and permit conditions within designated limited-entry areas;
Consistent enforcement of all permit requirements, limits, and conditions for the collection of fish or other aquatic life for aquarium purposes; and
Any other requirements for the collection of fish or other aquatic life or eligibility for aquarium fish permits or special activity permits that the department adopts pursuant to rule.
Section 188-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Permits to take aquatic life for aquarium purposes.
Except as prohibited by law, the department, upon receipt of a written application, may issue an aquarium fish permit, not longer than one year in duration, to use fine meshed traps, or fine meshed nets other than throw nets, for the taking of marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes. No person shall take aquatic life for aquarium purposes or enter into a limited-entry area designated by the department pursuant to section 188 without an aquarium fish permit.
Except as prohibited by law, the permits shall be issued only to persons who can satisfy the department that [they possess] the person:
Possesses facilities to and can maintain fish and other aquatic life alive and in reasonable health[.]; and
Is certified by a national or international certification agency or organization, recognized by the department pursuant to rule, that maintains standards for safe and ecologically sound aquarium collection practices, including requiring a fatality rate of one per cent or less for all fish and other aquatic life collected.
It shall be illegal to sell or offer for sale any fish and other aquatic life taken under an aquarium fish permit unless those fish and other aquatic life are sold alive for aquarium purposes.
Where things stand:
The Hawaii House Committee on Judiciary will debate and vote on this bill on Friday, the 27th of February at 3:30 pm. This bill is the amended version of the bill originally heard by the House Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs Committee regulating aquarium fisheries. Although progress has been made in addressing the onerous restrictions in this bill, several of the newly added requirements are unjustified given the current state of reef management by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). It further provides several opportunities for anti-industry groups to insert themselves into the inspection/certification process. We at PIJAC, in close cooperation with our local members, are helping to unify the voices against these proposals. It is essential that Hawaii’s legislators understand the huge impact that this proposal could have on the local economy (a concern that means nothing to the animal rights zealots).
What should you do:
Visit this easy-to-use website to submit testimony to the Hawaii House Committee on the Judiciary.
ATTN: Please be sure to add your name/organization in the space provided at the top of your testimony when submitting from our website in order to ensure that it is properly formatted for the Judiciary Committee.
Please watch for further communications from PIJAC, as we will be reaching out and asking for a rapid and overwhelming response should it appear that any of these proposals are gaining traction. To keep informed on any upcoming committee hearings or amendments for this legislation, save this communication and follow this PetAlert on our website!