Hawaiian ornamental fish collectors and businesses are asking for global help to put the case for their industry.
They are asking for UK businesses which sell Hawaiian fish, like yellow tangs, to email their support of the aquarium trade in Hawaii and that permits should be restored.
Comments need to reach the Hawaii Government by May 7 but preferably before. The industry needs this support to counter the negative comments that will also be coming in.
Emails need to be sent to:
SUBJECT: COMMENTS SUPPORTING THE HAWAII PEA FOR AQUARIUM FISHING
They have also created the below Talking Points to help people put together their own individual response.
This industry has been an active fishery, operating sustainably, for over fifty years.
West Hawaii Island fishery is one of the best managed near shore fisheries in the world, and is used as a model for sustainable collection practices by other fisheries around the globe.
The Aquarium trade on Hawaii Island has worked with DLNR since the 1990s to insure that fishery can grow, evolve, and maintain its sustainability by instituting additional rules making as needed which has included the establishment of the WHRFMA, (West Hawaii Regional Fisheries Management Area), closure of 35% of the leeward coastline off limits to collecting, establishment of the White List, bag limits and slot sizes on certain species, banning of night dive collecting, and catch reports to track extraction. No other fishery in the state has this level of management in place.
HEPA, (Hawaii Environmental Protection Agency), is intended to measure the impact of removal of these species from their habitat, regardless of whether they end up in an aquarium alive, or end up speared as food. The end result is that the fish are being removed, so management requirements should apply to all extraction, regardless of end use.
Two of the top three fish collected, Kole and Achilles, can be speared in any numbers, anywhere, at any time, killed for sale or for personal use, but tropical fish collectors are banned from collecting live specimens for the enjoyment of people all over the world to view in public aquariums and hobbyists who might not otherwise have any opportunity to see these beautiful fish.
Act 306 was updated with a new set of rules in HAR 13-60.4 which included size restrictions and bag limits on the three most collected fish in the WHRFMA, (West Hawaii Regional Fisheries Management Area).
Population estimates of these three most collected fish since the implementation in 2014 of the Rules
Package has increased in both density and abundance.
The Island of Hawaii has 18 years of WHAP, (West Hawaii Aquarium Project), data that is specific to the WHRFMA and is the only in depth studied area for the fishery in the entire state.
Economic impacts and how they affect you can be included – your business, your family, etc.
Aquarium trade is the only commercial fishers to be singled out for compliance to the HEPA law, all others operate within the conservation district unregulated and unhindered with any restrictions whatsoever.
The documents assessments are thorough, comprehensive, and include the best available research – which shows that populations are stable or increasing.
Respected scientists have peer reviewed the research and data and support the sustainability of the Hawaiian fishery. No scientific information has been omitted in this document that should result in any alternate conclusion.