Joint House Hearing Held on Reef Protection
Maui Rep. Kaniela Ing, chair of the Hawai‘i House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs, held a joint legislative informational briefing on Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol on “Reef Madness: Can We Save Hawaiʻi’s Marine Ecosystems?”
Featured topics included coral bleaching, overfishing and pollution. Presentations were given by the Reef Recovery Lab, the University of Hawaiʻi, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources and the Surfrider Foundation.
“This conversation is crucial,” said Rep. Ing. “Hawaiʻi has the expertise and will, so we just had to pull everyone together. Policymakers learned a ton from experts, regulators and NGOs. The consensus was that the governor’s goal to protect 30 percent of nearshore fisheries by 2030 is important, but it needs teeth. I will be introducing a mandate to establish a statewide network of marine protected areas. DLNR publicly expressed support.
“Secondly, Hawaiʻi should join literally every other coastal state to issue non-commercial fishing licenses,” said Rep. Ing. “This will allow for more effective management, data collection and more fish for everyone.”
“As for coral bleaching, carbon emissions is the root cause,” he continued. “Pollution, sewage and toxic sunscreens are contributing factors. My committee will be considering a ban on sunscreen containing oxybenzone, and expansion of cesspool conversion credits, and ways to expedite our 100% renewable energy and transportation goals.”
“It was amazing—so much vital research by some of the best in the world all in one place,” said Ing.