Breaking news: "Hawaii Fishery Management Effective"
by Ron Tubbs
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Aquatic Resources) DAR Kona office Dr. Bill Walsh legislative report finds major increases in Kona aquarium fish populations. The conclusion is the management of the aquarium fish industry in Kona has been effective and the fish populations of Kailua Kona remain healthy; All this due to the efforts of DLNR and the Hawaii State legislature with the cooperation and efforts put forth by aquarium fishermen. Fishermen greatly contributed to the recent Kona Aquarium fish rules packages which became law in January 2014. Oahu aquarium fishermen too worked with DLNR and their rules package sits on the Governor Ige's desk ready for signing. When it is signed it will become law in a soon as 10 days. The study reports are proof that Hawaii's active management of fisheries has resulted in lots of fish for all ocean user groups. All involved with Hawaii's ocean management should be commended for doing such a great job. It is a model for other fisheries worldwide.
The efforts of researchers like Dr. Walsh in cooperation with aquarium fishermen will continue to ensure a sustainable fishery and healthy reefs state wide.
Dr. Walsh report states: "The Hawaii marine aquarium fishery is currently the most economically valuable commercial inshore fishery in the State with FY 2014 reported landings greater than $2.3 million. The West Hawai′i aquarium fishery has undergone substantial and sustained expansion over the past 38 years. Total catch and value have increased by 22% and 45% respectively since FY 2000. Approximately 70% of the fish caught in the State and 67% of value presently comes from West Hawai′i."
"The West Hawai′i Aquarium Project (WHAP) has been monitoring West Hawai′i reefs since 1999 and a number of long-term studies extend over multiple decades. Over 16 years of monitoring, a total of 70 survey divers have conducted over 6,700 transects for the WHAP project in addition to hundreds of other surveys for related projects. This information is utilized to monitor the condition of the West Hawai′i’s reefs and the impact of aquarium collecting. The no-aquarium collecting Fish Replenishment Areas (FRAs), implemented in 1999, have been very successful in increasing populations of Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) which is the most heavily targeted aquarium fish accounting for 84% of the total catch. Fifteen years after closure, the population of Yellow Tang has increased 64.5% in the FRAs while its abundance in the Open Areas has not declined significantly. Overall Yellow Tang abundance in the 30’-60’ depth range over the entire West Hawai′i coast has increased 58% (over 1.3 million fish) from 1999/2000 to 2012-2013 to a current population of 3.6 million fish."
"The FRAs have also been very successful in increasing Kole (Ctenochaetus strigosus) populations. This species is the second most aquarium collected species, representing 8% of the total catch. The number of Kole increased significantly in all management areas, including Open Areas, from 1999/2000 to 012/2013. Overall Kole abundance in 30’-60’ depth range over the entire West Hawai′i coast increased 49% (over 2.1 million fish) during this time period with a current population of about 6.5 million fish." Dr Bill Walsh reported.
Complete report link: http://westhawaiifisherycou.ipower.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/WHRFMA-Report-to-Legislature-Jan-2015.pdf
WHT: Aquarium stocks rebound, report finds
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