Members of the Hawaiian fishing industry have teamed up with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) in fighting a bill that proposes a ban on ornamental fishing in the state.
If passed, Hawaiian Senate Bill 2003 would revoke existing ornamental fishing licenses while also preventing new ones from being issued. Members of the ornamental fishing industry in Hawaii have said that the bill would effectively stop the industry for the foreseeable future. The moratorium on the issue of new licenses would remain in effect until a study of the environmental impact of ornamental fishing can be conducted, per the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA).
PIJAC Vice President, Robert Likins, stated that the bill would unfairly harm the ornamental fishing industry while doing nothing to protect the Hawaiian ecosystem. “The fact is that study after study has concluded aquarium fishing is sustainable and has no appreciable impact on the environment, as Governor [David] Ige rightly concluded when he vetoed Senate Bill 1240 last year. PIJAC and our members in Hawaii are ready and eager to engage in good-faith discussions with lawmakers to follow through on promises made to further advance the environmental stewardship by the trade,” said Likins.
PIJAC has challenged several Hawaiian supreme court decisions related to the HEPA requirements surrounding ornamental fishing.
“Hawaii Senate Bill 2003 will close one of, if not the, most responsible fisheries in the world. This bill will put people out of work and risk the lives of licensed divers by limiting their ability to have licensed, qualified diving partners. And it will do nothing to protect Hawaii’s pristine waters.”
— Robert Likins, Vice President, PIJAC