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International Waters: In Hawaii, Two Bills Survive, Eight ‘Die in Transit’

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 (


  • 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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International Waters: In Hawaii, Two Bills Survive, Eight ‘Die in Transit’

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If you care about the industry either as a business or as a hobbyist you should take a serious look at who you vote for and who supports them with campaign money. There are a number of legislators who get their campaign money from radical environmentalist groups. Those legislators are therefore beholden to the wishes and desires of those same radical environmentalists. DO NOT support those people with your vote or your money. And don't think that a compromise or happy middle ground can be reached where everybody on both sides is happy. Environmentalists/animal rights activists will not be happy or content until their views and wishes are completely dictated by law. That means no more animals of any kind will be kept in captivity (except the dogs and cats because they want them too). These people are succeeding in destroying our businesses and taking away our rights one little bit at a time. Every piece of legislation they get passed is just one tiny step to their ultimate goal: The elimination of keeping animals in captivity. If you doubt this, all one needs to do is listen to people like Bob Wintner (Snorkel Bob) and Rene Umberger and look at who sides with them and supports their view (i.e. Sea Shepherd).
We need to get much more active politically. That means donating to politicians who will support our industry and personally meeting with other legislators so that they understand the joy and educational advantages of keeping pets, not to mention the contributions to the economy in terms of tax revenues and employment. We have been far too content with compromise and apathy not to mention being busy actually working for a living. Now is the time to get involved and get serious about combating these people.
Gregg, Los Angeles, CA
Posted: 6/27/2014 2:36:15 PM
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