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State cites 3 for illegal fishing in West Hawaii

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 9:49 a.m. HST, Feb 9, 2011

KAILUA-KONA  — The state has issued citations to three people for illegally collecting fish in a West Hawaii protected area. 

The acting head of the state's Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement, Randy Awao, told West Hawaii Today the alleged illegal fishing occurred in January. He said he couldn't provide further details because the state doesn't want to compromise its investigation.

The state created the West Hawaii Regional Fisheries Management Area in 1998, largely in response to long-standing and widespread conflict surrounding aquarium collecting. 

Collecting aquarium fish is prohibited on nearly 36 percent of the Kona Coast. 

Some lawmakers worried too many aquarium fish are being collected statewide have introduced legislation that would ban or restrict it around Hawaii.

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