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Scuba spearfishing ban sent to governor for approval

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:55 p.m. HST, Sep 18, 2013

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii >> A rules package that would ban scuba spearfishing in waters off West Hawaii has been sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his approval.

Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Deborah Ward told West Hawaii Today that the document was delivered to the governor on Monday.

Ward says no substantive changes were made to the document, which was approved by the department's board in June, before it was sent to the governor. The only changes were minor ones to correct grammatical mistakes, she said.

The new rules were developed over 10 years of discussion and hearings by the West Hawaii Fisheries Council. The council is a community advisory group formed in the late 1990s to manage conflicts over fishing.

The restrictions would prohibit spearfishing in waters off West Hawaii by people diving with the aid of scuba gear.

They would also limit the collection of aquarium fish to a list of 40 species and redraw the boundaries of a fishery management area off Puako using updated information on the reef.

The scuba spearfishing ban was the most contentious measure considered.

Those supporting it say scuba spearfishing harms fish stocks and the ecosystem. They said scuba divers target larger fish, which is a concern because the offspring of larger female fish survive better and grow faster than the offspring of younger fish. They also argue that scuba fishermen harvest in deeper waters where fish take refuge.

Fishermen testified before the board that the science doesn't call for a ban on the practice. They're also worried that banning spearfishing off West Hawaii would set a precedent and lead to other spearfishing bans around the state.

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livinginhawaii wrote:
Its good that they limit aquarium fish collecting. As there is no science backing the spearfishing ban this should not be done.
on September 18,2013 | 11:56AM
loquaciousone wrote:
There is no ban on spearfishing off of Kona. The ban is against spearfishing using scuba gear. Neptune approves.
on September 18,2013 | 12:34PM
islandsun wrote:
Sign it and have it enforced properly.
on September 18,2013 | 01:37PM
LanaUlulani wrote:
Bigger government means smaller people.
on September 18,2013 | 02:48PM
AlohaKakou wrote:
Well said.
on September 18,2013 | 05:51PM
juscasting wrote:
They should add gill netting also!
on September 18,2013 | 03:13PM
Mana07 wrote:
Ban seems to be the operative word for democrats.
on September 18,2013 | 03:32PM
DanLBoom wrote:
This ban should be called "The Manini Ban. It falls short...The Ban Should include all the Islands.Not just Kona.Look at Oahu's North Shore.AUWE!! Kauai and Maui share that same fate. The fish population is decimated.Numbers are getting smaller and smaller.this explains why they are so many shark attacks. No Food for them... You don't need a "Study" to figure that out. A total ban on all shore line fishing should be implemented , till the fish population is restored.A similar ban like they had on the south shore of Oahu. What happened??? ...the fish population came back.Shorelines can be labeled as Northshore ,southshore ,eastshore ,westshore. A 5-10 (Maybe longer ) year ban than slowly open these shores on a rotation basis. This is common sense practice. Lets get serious.IMUA
on September 18,2013 | 04:02PM
islandsun wrote:
It does fall short, just like our politicians and environmental leaders....
on September 18,2013 | 04:25PM
tiki886 wrote:
This is another useless law based on IGNORANCE!

The sound of the scuba scares most pelagic fishes out of range and the scuba has less than an hour of air below 35 feet. While the free diver can spend the WHOLE day in the water filling a large cooler of fish.

on September 18,2013 | 05:18PM
tiki886 wrote:
Between the free diver, shore fisherman and boat fisherman, the scuba diver with a spear catches the least amount of fish.
on September 18,2013 | 05:22PM
nippy68 wrote:
you must be on drugs.......
on September 18,2013 | 06:59PM
nippy68 wrote:
you are right on this.
on September 18,2013 | 06:59PM
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