As expected, the Hawaiian legislature introduced SCR1 and SCR2, which call for the governor to ban the collection of all aquarium-bound marine life. This follows the successful campaign to pass a similar resolution in Kauai County last year. As usual, Ret Talbot’s piece on the issue in the online Coral Magazine blog http://www.coralmagazine-us.com/content/senate-bills-call-complete-ban-sale-hawaiian-aquatic-life ) is excellent. Of note this time:
1. These are nonbinding resolutions, not bills to become laws. Nevertheless, each resolution passed adds perceived value to the argument that collection is bad, whether that is true or not.
2. When hearings begin for these resolutions, the legislature will solicit testimony online from any concerned parties. This means aquarists anywhere can pop over to the site, give some basic information, state why they are for or against the resolution, and add facts and justification. The anti-aquarium lobby has been strong and loud in Hawaii; it is time for people opposing these resolutions to be equally loud.
3. Like past resolutions, these are heavy on emotion, hand-wringing and pleas to morality, and light on data. This doesn’t mean there isn’t good data for and against collection; insttead, the authors of the resolutions simply aren’t including it because it doesn’t work in their favor.
When the hearings take place, Reefs.com will post again with links to sites where aquarists can say their piece before the measure is voted on, so stay tuned!