State conservation officers seized over 1,000 feet of illegal lay nets over the past week thanks to reports from concerned citizens and observations made during routine patrols.
On Thursday, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers investigated a report of a suspected illegal lay net behind King Intermediate School in Kaneohe. A man and a woman sped away from the scene but officers recovered gear and several hundred feet of net, according to a news release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
A short while later, DOCARE officers spotted an unattended lay net floating off the Kahaluu boat ramp and recovered approximately 400 feet of net that contained several live ulua that were then released.
Later in the day, officers observed a man in a boat retrieving what appeared to be a monofilament net just off Kapapa islet. When the boat pulled into Heeia Kea Small Boat Harbor, DOCARE officers cited Louis K. Watson, 42, of Kaneohe, for several vessel safety equipment violations as well as resource violations, the news release said. Aquatic take, 700 feet of net and a boat and trailer were seized for evidence.
On Sept. 20, DOCARE officers spotted an illegal unattended lay net across the Kaelepulu canal in Kailua and watched as a man and woman got into a dingy and attempted to retrieve the net. Once back on shore, Joey Ahwah, 30, and Pilialoha Ching, 33, were cited for lay net violations in a freshwater stream, the release said. Officers found dead and live aquatic species in their possession and also recovered a small-eye throw net in the back of one of the suspect’s trucks. The nets and equipment were seized for evidence.
“These incidents prove the value of community engagement when people see natural resource violations,” DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said in the release. “Officers obviously cannot be everywhere, all the time, so the tips and calls we receive from citizens are absolutely critical to stopping illegal fishing.”
To report a natural or cultural resources violation, call the DOCARE hotline at 643-DLNR (3567) or use the free DLNRTip app.