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Hawaii News

Council yields to state on aquarium harvesting

  • star-advertiser / 2010

KAILUA-KONA » A Hawaii County councilwoman has withdrawn two bills regulating the aquarium fish trade.

Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille said she’d like to wait and see what happens at the state level, West Hawaii Today reported Thursday.

She withdrew one bill that would have led to licensing of aquarium collectors and another regulating the transport of aquarium fish.

Commercial aquarium fish collectors and some members of the public opposed the bills. Environmentalists and recreational divers largely supported them.

A state House committee last week tackled a variety of bills aimed at limiting aquarium fish collecting and preventing harassment of those who collect fish or other aquatic animals.

The bill requiring licenses for aquarium fish collectors would have charged $2,000 for each license and a $100 application fee. Those collecting the five most threatened species of fish would pay an extra $1,000 per year.

The collectors would have been required to submit two reports a year detailing where fish are collected, how many were collected and sold, and other details.

Wille said she chose the licensing route because licensing businesses is one of the county’s core authorities. The state regulates other issues, such as setting areas where fish can’t be collected and setting limits on certain species.

The other bill would have prohibited the withholding of food from collected fish for more than 24 hours and required fish to be transported in a minimum of 1 gallon of water per fish.

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