THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

2003

TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2018

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to aquatic life.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that hundreds of thousands of saltwater fish and other aquatic life, such as invertebrates, are annually removed from their natural ocean habitat in Hawaii to be kept in aquariums in homes throughout the state and country. These fish and other aquatic life are caught and sold as part of the aquarium trade industry for ornamentation and amusement, not for food purposes.

The legislature also finds that the state aquarium fish permit authorizes the taking of an unlimited number of fish and other aquatic life for commercial purposes, and up to two thousand fish and other aquatic life annually for recreational purposes, using nets and traps containing stretched netting of less than two-inch mesh. While a fine mesh net or trap is not required in order to remove aquatic life for aquarium purposes, it is generally believed to be more effective than using other gear that does not require a permit, as the mesh is tight enough to keep fish from escaping. The fine mesh nets and traps can be used both near the surface of the ocean and at depths reached by scuba diving. Like humans, any fish caught deep below the surface will need to decompress before being brought to the surface. The fish is then put in a bucket or other storage container to take to shore, where it will begin its journey through various temporary tanks and diverse conditions to travel across the State or to other parts of the globe.

The legislature further finds that, as a precautionary principle and since saltwater fish and other aquatic life are not caught for food purposes, it is in the best interest of the fish and other aquatic life, as well as of the reefs they inhabit, that they remain in their natural environment, not confined in personal aquarium tanks. Therefore, the legislature concludes that commercial fishing for aquarium fish in Hawaii should be phased out.

While prohibiting the issuance of new aquarium fish permits, this Act will protect existing commercial aquarium fish collecting businesses by allowing individuals holding aquarium fish permits that have been issued or renewed within the past five years to continue using those permits, provided that they also possess a commercial marine license. These existing permits will also be able to be transferred, for five years after enactment of this Act, to other individuals who possess a commercial marine license. Non-commercial collectors will be able to continue collecting aquarium fish up to the existing limit of five specimens per day without needing an aquarium fish permit, provided that they do not use fine meshed traps, fine meshed nets, throw nets, or other prohibited catch methods.

This Act is not, however, intended to encourage residents and tourists to go into the water to view or catch aquarium fish unless sufficient safety measures and adequate environmental precautions are taken.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Restrict the taking of, for commercial purposes, aquatic life by any method of catch to those individuals who hold a valid, non-lapsed aquarium fish permit and commercial marine license;

(2) Prohibit the department of land and natural resources from issuing new aquarium fish permits to take aquatic life for commercial or non-commercial purposes;

(3) Allow, for commercial purposes, existing aquarium fish permits to be renewed by individuals possessing a commercial marine license and, for five years, transferred to individuals possessing a commercial marine license; and

(4) Allow the taking of, for non-commercial purposes, aquatic life subject to a limit of five fish or aquatic life specimens per permit per day; provided that fine meshed traps, fine meshed nets, throw nets, or other prohibited catch methods are not used.

SECTION 2. Section 188-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"188-31 Permits to take aquatic life for aquarium purposes[.]; prohibitions. (a) [Except as prohibited by law, the department, upon receipt of a written application, may issue an aquarium fish permit, not longer than one year in duration to use fine meshed traps, or fine meshed nets other than throw nets,] It shall be unlawful to take, for commercial purpose, any marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life by any method of catch, including by use of fine meshed traps, fine meshed nets, or throw nets, without possessing a valid, non-lapsed aquarium fish permit and commercial marine license; provided that the taking is not otherwise prohibited by law.

(b) It shall be unlawful to take, for non-commercial purpose, marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life by use of fine meshed traps, fine meshed nets, throw nets, or other prohibited catch methods, and to take more than a combined total of five fish or aquatic life specimens per person per day.

(c) Beginning on July 1, 2018, the department of land and natural resources shall not issue aquarium fish permits for the taking of marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes.

(d) The department of land and natural resources shall renew an existing aquarium fish permit, if the permit has not lapsed at the time of the renewal.

(e) The department of land and natural resources shall transfer an existing aquarium fish permit prior to July 1, 2023, if the permit has not lapsed at the time of the transfer.

[(b)] (f) Except as prohibited by law, [the] non-lapsed permits shall be [issued only to persons] renewed by or transferred to only commercial marine licensees, as defined in section 187A-1, who can satisfy the department that they possess facilities to and can maintain fish and other aquatic life alive and in reasonable health[.] and do not engage in animal cruelty practices that violate section 711-1109.

[(c)] (g) It shall be illegal to sell or offer for sale any fish and other aquatic life taken under an aquarium fish permit unless those fish and other aquatic life are sold alive for aquarium purposes.

The department may adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 for the purpose of this section.

(h) This section shall not prohibit any commercial marine licensee, as defined in section 187A-1, from assisting another commercial marine licensee who holds a valid aquarium fish permit; provided that the assistance does not involve the use of any gear, equipment, tools, or other means to take fish and other aquatic life.

[(d)] (i) For the purposes of this section:

[(1) "Aquarium purposes" means to hold salt water fish, freshwater nongame fish, or other aquatic life alive in a state of captivity as pets, for scientific study, or for public exhibition or display, or for sale for these purposes; and

(2)] "Aquarium fish permit" means a permit issued by the [board] department of land and natural resources for the use of fine mesh nets and traps, other than throw nets, to take salt water fish, freshwater nongame fish, or other aquatic life for aquarium purposes.

"Aquarium purposes" means to hold salt water fish, freshwater nongame fish, or other aquatic life alive in a state of captivity as pets, for scientific study, or for public exhibition or display, or for sale for these purposes.

"Commercial purpose" has the same meaning as in section 187A-1.

"Fine mesh", or "fine meshed", means stretched mesh of less than two inches, as used in netting to collect fish and other aquatic life.

"Lapsed" means a permit issued by the department of land and natural resources that has not been renewed for five or more years immediately preceding the time of the transfer or the renewal."

SECTION 3. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2018.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Aquarium Fish Permits; Commercial Marine License; Transfer or Renewal

 

Description:

Restricts the taking of aquatic life by any method for commercial purposes to individuals who hold a valid, non-lapsed aquarium fish permit and commercial marine license. Prohibits DLNR from issuing new aquarium fish permits. Requires DLNR to renew existing aquarium fish permits that have not lapsed for commercial marine licenses and transfer existing aquarium fish permits to commercial marine licenses prior to July 1, 2023. Allows for the taking of aquatic life for non-commercial purposes to a limit of five aquatic life specimens per permit per day, subject to certain conditions.

 

 

 

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