12 February 2015

The UK’s trade body representing the ornamental fish industry has had its say on controversial plans to stop the aquarium trade in Hawaii.

Four Bills are being put before the House Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee of the Hawaii Legislature which could have a huge affect on the export of marine fish from the island.

OATA believes that if three of the four bills are successful then its aquarium industry will effectively have to shut up shop for good.

One seeks to introduce a 10-year moratorium on taking aquarium fish, a second would stop the sale of aquatic life for aquarium use taken from Hawaiian waters while the third deals with the way that fish are transported, introducing measures that say fish should be fed before they’re shipped and have to be transported in a gallon of water per fish. The fourth bill wants to introduce anti-harassment provision against aquarium fishermen pursuing their lawful business.

“While we represent the UK industry issues like this will have a direct effect on businesses in this country, whether that’s importers or retailers, so we felt it was vital to make those voices heard in the consultation process leading up to the hearing,” said OATA’s Chief Executive Keith Davenport.

“Three of the bills fly in the face of the evidence that shows that Hawaii has already implemented successful management strategies which has contributed to the state having one of the best-managed and regulated aquarium industries in the world. And the bill dealing with transportation is terrible. We believe its provisions will actually harm fish, not protect them.

“The one bill we do support would establish anti-harassment provisions, but it won’t be much good if the other three bills make it into the law books.”

Hawaii’s main export is Yellow Tangs, with 84 percent of its catch being this iconic fish.

OATA’s responses are below:

HB511 Feb 2015

HB606 Feb 2015

HB873 Feb 2015

HB883 Feb 2015