A fisherman was fined $250 and ordered to to destroy his fishing gear after he was caught using an illegal throw net to catch oama.
The $250 fine was imposed upon Keith Sonoda Friday by Environmental Court Judge Linda Luke, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a news release.
In October, an off-duty Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement officer saw Sonoda, catching oama with an illegal throw net at Maunalua Bay Beach Park.
Oama are juvenile weke, which are members of the goatfish family, and are an important species to anglers as they are excellent table fare. In addition, large schools of oama in the late summer are an important food source for larger predators like papio, ulua and even green sea turtles, the state land department said.
Catching oama by hook-and-line fishermen is limited to 50 per angler per day.
Under current laws, it is illegal for anyone to possess, use or offer for sale any throw net with a mesh of less than two inches stretched.
Violations of rules regulating gill net use are petty misdemeanors. All net violations are required to appear in court and the minimum fine for a first offense is $250.
The public can report natural resources violations at 643-DLNR. Callers may remain anonymous.