HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
relating to ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that coral reefs are immeasurably important to Hawaii's economy and way of life, including Hawaii's tourism industry, food supply, recreation, and coastal protection. Coral reefs are one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet. Hawaii’s coral reefs have been subjected to immense stress in recent decades because of human-caused climate change, overfishing, and pollution. These stressors have contributed to substantial losses in live coral and an overall significant decline of Hawaii’s coral reefs.
The legislature also finds that herbivorous fish and invertebrates are critically important to Hawaii’s coral reefs. Herbivores are key to coral reef survival because they protect these threatened ecosystems from harmful algal overgrowth that can result from human-caused stressors.
The legislature further finds that the commercial capture of the State’s reef wildlife for sale to the aquarium pet trade substantially reduces the abundance and biomass of important herbivores and other fishes with key roles on the reef and is incompatible with living in harmony and balance with nature, respect for the surrounding environment, and the sustainability of our ecosystem. The objectives of commercial trade are contrary to sustainable fishing practices, such as taking only what is needed for subsistence.
The legislature acknowledges that while Hawaii's laws offer herbivorous fish some protections in marine protected areas and fish replenishment areas, the legislature believes that ensuring healthy populations of herbivorous fish in all of Hawaii's waters is essential to protect Hawaii's coral reefs from extinction.
The legislature further finds that in 1988, the State prohibited the taking of sand, dead coral or coral rubble, rocks, soil, and other marine deposits. Extending prohibitions to encompass the commercial collection and sale of reef wildlife for the aquarium pet trade is now needed to protect the environment and preserve the State’s natural resources for the benefit of all Hawaii residents. The legislature recognizes that these obligations to protect the environment are enshrined in the Hawaii State Constitution, specifically in article XI, section 1, conservation, control, and development of resources; article XI, section 9, environmental rights; and article XII, section 7, traditional and customary rights.
The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the harvesting of aquatic life for commercial aquarium purposes, regardless of the method of collection. This Act is intended to allow the following practices to continue:
(1) Issuance of special activity permits pursuant to section 187A-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
(2) Issuance of recreational permits for non-commercial capture of aquatic life for aquarium purposes, in accordance with existing laws and decisions regarding compliance with environmental assessments; and
(3) Captive-breeding and aquaculture efforts, as regulated by section 187A-3.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes.
SECTION 2. Chapter 189, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part I to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§189- Harvesting aquatic life for commercial
aquarium purposes; prohibition. (a)
No person shall harvest aquatic life for commercial aquarium purposes.
This section shall not apply to the issuance of a license or permit for
activities permitted in sections 187A-3.5 and 187A-6; provided that the
requirements of those sections are met.
the purposes of this section:
"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, for public exhibition or
display, or for sale for these purposes.
"Commercial" means to take
aquatic life for profit or gain or where the aquatic life is sold, offered for
sale, possessed with intent to sell, bartered, landed, or transported for sale."
SECTION 3. Section 189-11, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§189-11 Receipts in duplicate. Every commercial marine dealer shall issue receipts to the person from whom marine life is obtained and shall provide the following information in the receipt:
(1) The date of the issuance;
(2) The name of the person to whom the receipt is issued;
(3) The following information with respect to each of the varieties of marine life as the department shall require including:
(A) The weight in pounds of each of the varieties received;
(B) The numbers of marine life when they average a pound or more; and
(C) The price per pound paid; and
(D) With regard to aquarium fish, regardless of
weight, the number and species of the fishes; and]
(4) The signature of the dealer who issues the receipt.
Any dealer taking the dealer's own marine life or handling any marine life taken by commercial marine licensees working for or with the dealer, shall make out the same receipt, giving market price for the marine life as prevails on the date of receipt. A duplicate copy of this receipt shall be kept on file at the premise where the marine life was sold by the dealer issuing the same for a period of twelve months from the date of issuance, and the duplicate copy shall be available for inspection upon the demand of any conservation officer authorized to enforce the laws of the State."
SECTION 4. Section 188-31.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.
[§188-31.5] Aquarium fish for export; monthly count. The department of land and natural resources
shall adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to monitor the aquarium fish
catch report and fish dealer's report for export of aquarium fish taken from the
waters of the State for aquarium purposes pursuant to section 188-31. A monthly count of the quantities taken of
each individual species of aquarium fish exported shall be reported to the
SECTION 5. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit the exercise of traditional and customary practices, the lawful taking of fish for consumption or bait, or the lawful management or taking of aquatic life from fishponds.
SECTION 6. If there is any conflict with section 188-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, this Act shall supersede that section.
SECTION 7. 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 8. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 9. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 10. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Aquatic Life; Harvesting; Commercial Aquarium Purposes
Prohibits the harvesting of aquatic life for commercial aquarium purposes, regardless of the method of collection.
The summary description
of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is
not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.