When an underwater video surfaced early this week showing an aquarium fisherman rush a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society diver and knock the scuba air regulator from her mouth, it was physical proof that the more-than-decade old battle over Hawaii’s aquarium fishery is far from over.
Even with the best available science showing that the collection of reef fish in Hawaiian waters is sustainable, even with state biologists stating the Big Island fishery is amongst the best managed in the State, and even with new rules in place to ensure that the reefs on the Kona Coast of the the Big Island are not overfished and that the corals are not harmed, a vocal faction of the anti-aquarium movement in Hawaii continue to claim the Island’s reefs are being “raped.”
This incident signals another unwelcome escalation in the battle over Hawaii’s largest aquarium fishery. To many outside observers, it’s difficult to comprehend. To nearly every insider, it’s almost too much to bear.