Hawaii’s Aquarium Fishery Ban: Call to Action!

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Zebrasoma_flavescens_Luc_Viatour - reefs

credit: Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

 Hawaii Government Senate Bill SB 1240 has just gained momentum, which means that it is crucial that we act NOW. The bill focuses on Hawaii’s Aquarium Fisheries; its stated purpose is to “Prohibit the department [of land and natural resources] from issuing new aquarium fish permits”, and potentially marks the beginning of the end of the aquarium industry, not only in Hawaii, but across the entire country. Proponents of the bill argue that the aquarium fisheries are “devastating” Hawaii’s reefs, but the facts tell a different story: MASNA reports that “Surveys show populations of the two most commonly targeted marine aquarium fishes— the Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) and the Kole Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus)—have increased even as collection has increased. The Yellow Tang population has increased by over 300,000, and the Kole Tang population has increased by over one million since 1999.” 
yellow tang hawaii

credit: Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR)

 In fact, even Hawaii’s own Department of Land and Natural Resources opposes the ban; its Division of Aquatic Resources states that the fisheries are sustainable, and there is no credible scientific evidence that a ban is warranted right now. Furthermore, the aquarium fishery industry is absolutely tiny in Hawaii, as compared to both the commercial food fishery and recreational fishery. The chart below illustrates that point perfectly; it shows the three fisheries, and their levels of fish catch, on the island of Kauai. 
hawaii reef fish catch

credit: Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR)

 Bill SB 1240 has already passed the “conference phase”. It will now move to the General Attorney’s office, and then to the Governor for final approval. Please, contact the Governor’s office to protest the bill, and ask for his VETO: phone: (808) 586-0034 email: gov@gov.state.hi.us For more information, visit MASNA’s page, HERE

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