Posted: June 18, 2014, 9:35 a.m. EDT
By John Dawes
It’s difficult if not impossible to find a state within the whole of the U.S. that processes more bill and legislation proposals relating to the ornamental aquatic industry than Hawaii.
Over the past months, several major proposals have been making their way through the Hawaiian legislature, ranging from proposed prohibition of the collecting of parrotfishes to prohibiting the taking or harvesting of aquarium fish for commercial sale.
Legislation that died in committee (read more at pijac.org):
- Bill establishing a limited-entry program for commercial aquarium fishers
- Legislation authorizing administrative inspections within the West Hawaii Regional Fishery Management Area
- Companion bills requiring a permit to take marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes
- Legislation affecting existing aquarium fish permit criteria
- Bill prohibiting the taking of aquarium fish during the months of January, February, March, July, August and September
- Legislation prohibiting the taking or harvesting of aquarium fish for commercial sale
- Bill delegating regulation of aquarium fish found in waters within a three-mile limit of each island in the State to the respective county
- Legislation prohibiting the catching of any member of the parrotfish subfamily
Proposed legislation prohibiting the taking of parrotfish is no more. John Dawes
Legislation that passed and awaits further action:
- HP 989: Regulates the ornamental aquarium trade
HB 989 is aimed at establishing penalties for the unlawful taking of "saltwater or freshwater nongame fish, or any specimen of aquatic life,” and is designed to enhance existing regulatory mechanisms. This does not adversely affect the ornamental sector whose members should be able to comply "with the applicable fishery regulations,” according to PIJAC which, consequently, supports the bill. It currently awaits further action in the state senate; once it is approved, it will take immediate effect.
All the proposals that have been tabled so far, only one directly affecting the ornamental aquatic sector is likely to make it into law. However, knowing how active the Hawaiian anti-industry lobby is, it would come as no surprise if some of the proposals that have died were resurrected or modified, or if new ones were to be tabled during the current legislation.
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