HONOLULU — Hawaii Environmental Court Judge David W. Lo issued a $2,000 criminal fine last Friday to an Oahu seafood retailer who was caught offering undersized Ahi for sale.
On November 18, 2015, a DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officer conducted a commercial marine dealer inspection at Marivic Fresh Seafoods & Meat, located in the Chinatown Market Place. The officer observed several fish that appeared to be below the minimum size limit and after weighing the fish he cited 50 year-old Alfonso M. Chua. Chua was found offering four Ahi below the minimum size of three pounds for sale. The smallest fish was 1.87 pounds, while the largest fish weighed 2.27 pounds. The fish were being offered for sale at a price of $6.95 per pound.
Under Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR) Section 13-95-17, it is unlawful for any person to offer Ahi for sale weighing less than three pound. Judge Lo fined Chua $500 per specimen. This was his second violation within a year, as he was found guilty on June 9, 2015 of offering undersized Kona crab for sale. In that case, a judge fined Chua $150. HAR Section 13-95-51 prohibits possession or sale of any Kona crab less than four inches in length.
“Our minimum size limits are aimed at ensuring that species have a chance to reproduce before they are extracted or sold,” said DOCARE Enforcement Chief Thomas Friel. “When commercial dealers purchase undersize marine life and offer it for sale, they incentivize the destruction of our fisheries and rob others of the right to enjoy healthy, well-managed resources.”
Most undersize sale violations are a criminal petty misdemeanor offense, with minimum fines of at least $100 for a first offense; $200 for a second offense; and $500 for a third offense. The Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) can additionally pursue administrative penalties of up to $1,000 for a first violation; $2,000 for a second violation; and $3,000 for a third violation.
“We’re very happy with the judge’s decision in this case,” continued Chief Friel. “We want people to know that we take this type of violation very seriously and will pursue stiff penalties for commercial dealers who recklessly or knowingly offer undersize marine life for sale. Having an Environmental Court with specially trained judges ensures that these violations get the attention they deserve, and we’re deeply appreciative of the Judiciary’s efforts in this regard.”
For more information on Hawai‘i’s fishing regulations, visit:
To report a conservation resource incident, call 643-DLNR.
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Senior Communications Manager
Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
Office of the Chairperson
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 131
Honolulu, HI 96813