Hearings for two Hawaii aquarium fishery-related bills are scheduled for Friday, February 26th, in the House Committee on the Judiciary.
The two bills are House Bill 483 (HB 483), which authorizes administrative inspections within the West Hawaii Regional Fishery Management Area (WHRFMA), and the revised House Bill 873 (HB 873 HD1), which establishes an “aquatic life conservation program” to “implement conservation measures to regulate the collection of fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes.” Both bills passed out of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs on 12 February, and Friday’s public hearing will represent the final hearings in the House for both bills. The public hearing will take place at 3 pm Friday at the State Capital in Honolulu. Public testimony is due by 3 pm on Thursday 26 February.
HB 873 – More Controversial Than Ever
HB 873 is the more controversial and further reaching of the two bills. While many support HB 483 because they believe it will give fisheries managers more authority to regulate the State’s largest aquarium fishery (West Hawaii), HB 873 was originally written to close Hawaii’s aquarium fishery statewide. After hearing testimony on 11 February from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and others regarding fisheries management and data that show fishery sustainability, the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs amended the Bill so that it…