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Ing’s Bill Aims to Limit Fish Collecting for Aquarium Trade

March 2, 2017, 2:55 PM HST (Updated March 2, 2017, 2:56 PM) · 0 Comments
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File photo by Wendy Osher.

A bill to phase out aquarium fish collecting in Hawaiʻi passed its final committee hearing in the House on Wednesday.

Representative Kaniela Ing of Maui who introduced the measure, said the bill was prompted by stakeholders in environmental protection agencies and the tourism industry who have noticed less colorful fish when out snorkeling.

According to Ing, studies have shown that aquarium reef fish populations are sustainable at current take levels, but would decline if more businesses enter the industry; however, Ing believes the bar should be set well above sustainability.

“We’ve heard from thousands of folks, and came out with a straight forward measure to settle this issue once and for all,” said Ing, noting that the bill is a compromise from input gathered during three years of work on the issue.

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“Economists say our reefs are worth billions, I say they are priceless. If nature ran its course, our reefs would still be abundant with colorful and beautiful fish, just as described in old Hawaiian chants. Through this and other marine protection measures, natural environmental growth and abundance should be our goal.”

Ing says more reef fish mean better snorkeling and more food for bigger fish to eat, and in turn would help the tourism industry and our local food supply.

The HB1457 HD1 will face a final vote on the House floor, then if passed, will crossover to the Senate.

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