Hearing Set on Aquarium Fish Collecting Rule Changes
by Dave Smith
A public hearing will be held next month in Kona on proposed changes to regulations regarding aquarium fish collecting in West Hawaii.
The hearing by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is scheduled at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Kealakehe High School cafeteria.
The rules will amend three existing sections in the Hawaii Administrative Rules and repeal a fourth and replace it with another section.
The proposed changes include a ban on SCUBA spearfishing in the West Hawaii regional fishery management area and closing of a 1,500-foot section of Ka`ohe Bay in South Kona to aquarium collecting.
The changes would also establish a list of 40 fish species that could be taken in the management area for the aquarium industry with size and bag limits on three of those species including yellow tang, goldring surgeonfish and Achilles tang.
The amendments would also prohibit the taking or possession of nine species of inshore sharks and rays. They would also ban the taking of Triton’s trumpet and horned helmet, two invertebrate predators of crown-of-thorns starfish, which preys on coral.
Written testimony may also be submitted by Dec. 19 to the Kona office of the Division of Aquatic Resources at 74-380B Kealakehe Parkway, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740.