Permanent Sea Cucumber Harvest Rules to be Considered
[flashvideo file=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD-cp13PCLw /] By Maui Now Staff
The state is considering implementing a permanent rule to prevent the over harvest of sea cucumbers, and will soon schedule public meetings to discuss the issue with residents across the state.
A temporary emergency rule banning the take of sea cucumbers from state waters has a 120 day limit and was implemented on June 26, 2015 following mass harvesting events discovered on Maui and Oʻahu earlier this year.
The rule was in response to confirmed reports of a new commercial fishery that recently started. Over harvesting on Maui was reported in both Olowalu in West Maui and at Kahului Harbor in Central Maui.
New permanent rules have been proposed to provide a more “long-term management” plan that would prohibit the commercial harvest of sea cucumbers for food consumption, including the killing of sea cucumbers for food or medicinal purposes.
Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources say commercial aquarium collection of sea cucumbers would be allowed under the following restrictions: (1) Take would be confined to waters of Oʻahu; (2) Only two species of sea cucumber, Holothuria hilla and Holothuria edulis, may be harvested; (3) A person must have a valid commercial marine license and a valid aquarium permit and may only harvest during the open season; (4) Limit is 20 sea cucumbers per person, per day; (5) There is a total annual catch limit of 3,600 sea cucumbers for the aquarium fishery; and (6) The aquarium harvesting season will close once this limit is reached.
State officials say the proposed rules also allow the general public to take up to five sea cucumbers per person per day for personal, non-commercial use.
A formal notice will be issued once the public hearings are scheduled.