DLNR NEWS RELEASE: DLNR DIVISION OF AQUATIC RESOURCES HAS ADDED NEW COURT-ORDERED REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL FISHING LICENSES

Posted on Dec 8, 2020 in Latest News, Newsroom

(HONOLULU) – The DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has updated commercial marine licenses (CML) terms and conditions to reflect a full statewide ban on commercial aquarium fishing until final environmental review, as required by a Nov. 27th First Circuit Court ruling.

While the final court order may include further details on how DAR should institute the court requirements, DAR has already updated commercial marine licenses (CML) terms and conditions.

This section, (along with related definitions), has been added:

  1. It is illegal and a violation of this commercial marine license to:
  2. take marine life for commercial aquarium purposes,
  3. possess marine life that has been taken for commercial aquarium purposes, or
  4. possess aquarium collecting gear in state marine waters for commercial aquarium purposes,

without first completing the required environmental review process under the Hawaiʻi Environmental Policy Act (HEPA), HRS Chapter 343.  

The court’s ruling confirmed DLNR’s interpretation of a 2017 ruling (Umberger) that HEPA requirements only applied to fine-mesh permits (the primary net type used in commercial aquarium collecting). “The court agrees with DLNR that Umberger did not specially address or resolve the issue of whether CML are an “action” for purposes of HEPA review.” The latest court ruling added the further requirements of HEPA review for all commercial aquarium fishing, regardless of the collection method.

“All CMLs issued or renewed on November 27, 2020, or later will include terms and conditions that prohibit the take or possession of marine life for commercial aquarium purposes, including the possession of aquarium fishing gear for commercial aquarium purposes, without completing a HEPA review.”

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Media Contact: 

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

(808) 587-0396

[email protected]