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Fisherman fined for throw net violation

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    A school of oama seen while snorkeling. 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 at Maunalua Bay Beach Park.

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.

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    • They need to publicize this stuff, so that fishermen are aware that DLNR is enforcing the regs. It makes people less likely to break the law.

      • They need to publish it so everyone can see that all you’ll get is a slap on the hand for doing crap like this. $250 is a joke. They should be fined for each fish. And ordered to destroy the net? Just confiscate it.

        • Agree with your last sentence, why order the offender to destroy his net? Confiscate the net as evidence!

  • The fine should be over $1,000. The Oama grows into a larger fish and it takes away the fun of other fishermen especially children who is able to catch the Oama.

    Shame, Shame on you Keith Sonada. I have absolutely no respect for people like you.

      • What are you talking about…”If none, I suppose the $250 is good.” What matters is the act, not if he caught anything. The courts should fine is sorry as s way more than $250 and throw him in jail for a few days. Then maybe these ice holes will think about their actions. That’s why no more fish.

  • Excellent… I wish we could have stories like this every day. Breaking the Fish & Game Laws is stealing from you and me. Book’m Danno.

  • This needs to happen a lot more often with very stiff penalties..very much a news item despite what someone who doesn’t care about the ocean writes.

    • Totally agree that DLNR needs more staffing. When the lay net ban first went into effect at Maunalua Bay, we called to report a net in the water. The response we received from the call hotline was “Thank you for calling, but we don’t have any officers that are available to respond”. Not sure if DLNR officers are assigned to district like HPD, but if not, maybe they should so someone is always nearby whenever a call comes in.

        • Gee, stop reading between the lines. I’m not suggesting all departments hire more, only the ones who are short staffed to the point where they are ineffective. If DLNR is short staffed, how can we expect them to enforce of our laws? You need the tools/personnel to get the job done.

        • Gee, fire some flat tire ineffective state workers and hire some more effective docare officers ,,, there are people who would really make a difference if the rats in charge would stop just hiring their friends and family..

    • DLNR IS A Worthless enforcement organization. Most violations take place at night…..i think that DLNR enforcement officers only work 9-5. Almost impossible to get one to the north shore to act on illegal nets ant lobster traps. All kinds of idiots up here raping the reefs at night.

  • Bruddah Keith Sonoda, respect the aina. Take a moment to think about what you are doing. It may seem innocent to you but what if everyone did it illegally? Look what happened to ogo seaweed supply on Oahu. So scarce now. Lobster holes destroyed by clowns using clorox. Greed will wipe out everything we love if unchecked.

  • Slap on the wrist. He should’ve gotten fined over $1,000 and given 2 weeks in jail. Too many idiots use illegal throw nets. Pretty soon oama schools will be a thing of the past.

  • Why did it take 9 months for the Environmental Court to hear what should be an open-and-shut case? The violation happened last October! It also appears former DLNR enforcement Tom Friel really did step up enforcement of our fish and game laws, a really big change for the department.

  • Just gut, despine and deep fry it, There is technique to despine small fish oama and smelts for deep frying. The crispy morsel is the best beer chaser!

  • Greedy guys like this are not only messing it up for people today … What about the kids two or three generations from now … “Nothing comes from nothing”. DLNR/DAR should change the rule book to make it illegal to harvest fish that are not old enough to reproduce. All of these oama could have grown up to be a good meal sized weke. We need more DOCARE officers as too often poachers get a way with their greed.

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