Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Issuance of Commercial Aquarium Fishery Permits for the Island of Oahu
Pursuant to the Hawai’i Environmental Protection Act, attached is a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Issuance of Commercial Aquarium Fishery Permits for the Island of Oahu. This document has been submitted to the Hawai’i Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) for publication on or about April 8, 2018. There will be a 30-day public comment period on the DEA. Please refer to the OEQC website for more information and to provide comments on the document.
From DLNR March 27, 2018 Transmittal Letter (excerpt):
With this letter, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources hereby transmits the draft environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact (DEA-AFONSI) for the Commercial Aquarium Fishery in the Honolulu, Ewa, Wai'anae, Waialua, Ko'olauloa, and Ko'olaupoko Judicial Districts on the island of O'ahu for publication in the next available edition of the Environmental Notice.
This draft Environmental Assessment has been prepared by the applicant Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council on behalf of Hawai'i fishers. Though it proposes a FONSI, DLNR has identified several concerns in the DEA, and specifically requests public comment concerning:
(1) the effects of the Commercial Aquarium Fishery on Flame Wrasse (Cirrhi/abrusjordam) and Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) and the estimated rate of annual take;
(2) the adequacy of the analysis presented in this DEA, including but not limited to removal and replenishment rates for vulnerable species; specifically, how is the estimated sustainable range of 5% to 25% annual take of the estimated total population arrived at, and should the threshold be 5% or 25%;
(3) the interpretation of data presented in this DEA, including the analysis of NOAA NMFS Coral Reef Ecosystem Project (CREP) data versus DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources West Hawai'i Aquarium Project (WHAP) data; and
(4) conservation measures to minimize or avoid impacts to target species and specifically, whether other alternatives might be proposed to minimize or avoid impacts other than the two presented of no action, with no aquarium permits issued, and the preferred alternative of programmatic issuance of aquarium permits for the Island of O'ahu -such as consideration of specific management measures for Flame wrasse, Yellow tang and other species.
Through this letter DLNR also solicits new or additional scientific information concerning the effects of the Commercial Aquarium Fishery on the environment. DLNR will fully consider all public comments and information submitted prior to finalizing this analysis.
PDF: Draft Environmental Assessment
PDF: Transmittal letter
WHT April 10, 2018: Commercial aquarium fish collecting could be returning to Hawaii shores, following a five-month pause.
WHT April 17, 2018: Recreational aquarium collection permits voided