The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) has teamed up with the Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT) to work together to advance responsible use of Hawaii’s marine life and responsible pet trade nationwide.
Both were key goals that were promoted last week when the Hawaii Senate Water and Land Committee heard a bill outlining tougher restrictions on aquarium fishing in the state.
PIJAC and HFACT singed what is considered Hawaii’s first intra-industry Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) dedicated to fishing issues in the state, and both are hoping to make a scientifically backed resolution to protect the environment while supporting key industries beneficial to the state and local economy.
The MOU was signed last Thursday.
“The aquarium fish industry is an important industry in Hawaii for what it brings to locals through jobs, the state through tourism, and the world through ornamental fish,” said Robert Likins, vice president for governmental affairs for PIJAC. “PIJAC looks forward to working with HFACT to help all who benefit from ornamental fishing work with state lawmakers and regulators to ensure the most scientifically credible way forward is found for ornamental fishing and environmental health.”
Under the MOU, HFACT will lead efforts to protect the aquarium fishing industry in Hawaii, and PIJAC will add its national and international expertise in legislative and environmental issues.
“The state has a responsibility to ensure its natural resources are managed in a scientifically credible way for the benefit of all its citizens,” said HFACT President Phil Fernandez. “The aquarium fish industry is of significant educational and economic importance to Hawaii, and is environmentally safe. This memorandum will give fishers a more influential voice to protect all who engage in the practice.”
PIJAC and HFACT argued against SB2003, being heard before the Senate Water and Land Committee last Friday. SB2003, focuses on fishing licenses, combined with an existing Department of Land & Natural Resources decision to invalidate all licenses until Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA) procedures are applied to aquarium fishing, would result in an effective ban on aquarium fishing in Hawaii.
Remember, it is still not too late to get involved.