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An Update on Aquatic Judicial Issues and Research


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Early last month, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) held a town hall at Aquatic Experience to discuss major issues facing the aquatics trade. Two of the issues concerned court decisions against fishers in Hawaii and a cyanide study commissioned by PIJAC. 

The major Hawaii update since Aquatic Experience is that a judge ruled against PIJAC and the fishers regarding a stay on a previous court’s declaration that small mesh net fishing licenses currently in use are illegal. In other words, the most recent decision by the court said that existing permits are not valid. PIJAC, the fishers, and other allies are considering next steps. 

This latest decision is the third to go against ornamental fishers. The first, by the Hawaii Supreme Court, ruled that the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) must comply with Hawaii Environmental Protection Act (HEPA) requirements when issuing the licenses. A lower court then ruled that current licenses are not valid. The stay rejection was the most recent decision.
This fight will be extraordinarily expensive—we expect costs to easily top $200,000 just to help Hawaii’s fishers—so we are continuing to reach out to the industry to contribute. 

On the cyanide front, the literature review is complete. We continue to seek a cost-effective and reliable way to detect the illegal use of cyanide in the taking of aquarium fish. PIJAC’s Aquatics Committee discussed next steps on our monthly call this past Wednesday. 

Stay tuned…


Robert Likins is the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) vice president of government affairs. Since 1970, PIJAC has protected pets, pet owners and the pet industry—promoting responsible pet ownership and animal welfare, fostering environmental stewardship, and ensuring the availability of pets. PIJAC members include retailers, companion animal suppliers, manufacturers, wholesale distributors, manufacturers’ representatives, pet hobbyists, and other trade organizations.

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