Couple Pays Steep Fines For Aquarium Fishing Violations

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Breaking fishing laws in Hawai‘i doesn’t frequently pay. More often than not, it costs. One case of aquarium fishing violation stemming from early last year ended with a Big Island couple paying an expensive price.

Tyron and Kacie Terazono of Kealakekua have agreed to pay a large fine for the illegal harvest of aquarium fish offshore of Kawaihae in Hawai‘i County during February 2020.

Acting on tips, officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) conducted a commercial fishing gear and catch inspection of the couple’s boat, Masako, when it returned to the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor on Feb. 20 of last year. The inspection found 550 live tropical fish, of 10 species, in the vessel’s hold, along with aquarium fishing gear, including a small mesh net.


The Terazonos were charged with violating Hawai‘i Administrative Rules, which prohibit the possession of aquarium collecting gear or the possession of aquatic life for aquarium purposes in the West Hawai‘i Regional Fisheries Management Area without a permit.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources heard the case against the Terazonos last May. The couple initially requested a contested case hearing, after the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) recommended $76,400 administrative fines. Ultimately, the pair dropped their request for a hearing and agreed to the settlement.

Last September, a South Kohala District Court judge sentenced Tyron Terazono to pay $5,500 in fines stemming from the illegal collection and serve 30 days in jail, but the term was suspended due to the pandemic. He had pleaded guilty to 11 criminal counts.


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