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PIJAC, Fishers, Scientists Urge Hawaii Senate to Keep Ornamental Fishing Alive


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Last year, the responsible pet trade came together to help Hawaii fishers—who are responsible for 93 percent of the yellow tang in Earth’s aquariums—stay alive. Regretfully, animal activists are at it again. They’ve convinced a state Senator to introduce a bill that could shut down the entire industry and risk lives.

Hawaii Senate Bill 2003 is expected to receive its first hearing on Friday, Jan. 26. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) is working with fishers and scientists to halt it in its tracks because the bill (a) risks jobs all across the islands, (b) is based upon activists’ unscientific claims that ornamental fishing is environmentally unsound and (c) will leave divers without qualified partners—thus risking their lives.

Governor David Ige listened to science last year when he vetoed Senate Bill 1240. With the full industry behind us, PIJAC and our membership on the ground hope to stop SB 2003 long before it reaches his desk. But we need everyone’s help. Please go here to contact state senators on the Land & Water Committee, and urge them to do the right thing before this bill gets any momentum.

In response to the recent Hawaii Supreme Court decision, the industry and regulators are already working to conduct new research about the sustainability of the aquarium fishery. SB 2003 pre-emptively and unnecessarily changes fishery laws before the environmental studies can be completed. 

The extremism of activists on this issue is clear. Every responsible scientific study, and even Hawaii’s own Department of Labor & Natural Resources, agree that the management practices currently in place have resulted in an increase in Hawaii’s fish population over the last 15 years. Of all the things that affect the health of the reef and its inhabitants, fishing for the aquarium trade has the least harmful impact.  

Even if you’re not a fisher, this will impact you if you sell or transport fish. Please help. 


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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