STATE AND MARINE PROTECTION ORGANIZATIONS JOIN FORCES TO COMBAT ILLEGAL AQUARIUM COLLECTION
Telephone Reward Hotlines & Online Applications Available for Reporting
News Release from DLNR, Dec 19, 2018
(Honolulu) – Hawaii-based marine and animal protection organizations have joined forces with the Hawai‘i Dept. of Land and Natural Resources to make it easier for people to report illegal aquarium collecting activity across the state.
In September of 2017, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled that state-issued aquarium permits were subject to environmental review under the Hawai‘i Environmental Policy Act (HEPA). All permits to take aquatic life for aquariums using fine-meshed nets were declared illegal and invalid until an environmental review could be completed.
For the Fishes, Moana ‘Ohana, The Center for Biological Diversity, West Hawai‘i Humane Society, and DLNR have combined resources to make it easy for anyone to report suspected poaching of reef creatures. Successful prosecution of a poaching case can result in a reward of up to $5000 for the person or people who provided the tip (reporting methods detailed below).
Mike Nakachi of Kona-based Moana ‘Ohana explained, “We are asking for the public’s kokua (help) in reporting any suspected illegal reef wildlife collection. We continue to receive reports from concerned residents alleging illegal capture of our fragile and sacred reef animals. All aquarium fish collection off West Hawai‘i is against the law, regardless of gear type or net size.”
“We must all work together to ensure Hawai‘i’s rich marine life are protected from illegal poaching,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Hawai‘i director. “Court orders and regulatory rulings suspending aquarium collecting is a good start, but those laws are meaningless without proper enforcement.”
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We appreciate the efforts of these organizations that are working tirelessly to support our enforcement of aquarium collection laws, and to ensure only legal and pono fishing practices are used.”
In addition to the new, 808-NO-POACH reporting hotline, where concerned people can call or text photos and images of alleged illegal activity, DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement also takes tips through its state-wide telephone hotline or free, online application.
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Report Suspected Illegal Take of Reef Wildlife
Call or text (including images/video): 808-NO-POACH (808-667-6224)
Call: 808-643-DLNR (808-643-3567)
Free download: DLNRTip on android and Apple devices
Images of illegal methods and more at www.FortheFishes.org/reward
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Hawaii, Conservation Groups Team Up Against Illegal Aquarium Collection
New Hotline, Rewards Encourage Citizens to Report Poaching of Reef Fish
News Release from Center for Biological Diversity December 19, 2018
HONOLULU— The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups have teamed up with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to encourage people to report illegal collection of the state’s marine life for the aquarium trade. Citizens can report suspected poaching through a new hotline and collect rewards of up to $5,000 following successful prosecutions.
Poachers have continued to collect Hawaii reef fish and other wildlife despite last year’s ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court suspending state-issued aquarium permits until completion of a full environmental impact review.
“We must all work together to ensure Hawaii’s rich marine life is protected from illegal poaching,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Hawaii director. “Court orders and regulatory rulings suspending aquarium collecting are a good start, but those laws are meaningless without proper enforcement. We can all help ensure our beautiful reef fish don’t get illegally taken by the aquarium trade.”
Other groups supporting the reward and reporting program include For the Fishes, West Hawai‘i Humane Society and Moana ‘Ohana.
People who see illegal marine collection can call or text (808) NO-POACH or call the department at (808) 643-3567. They can also download the DLNRTip application for Android and Apple devices. Images and information on illegal aquarium trade activities can be found at www.ForTheFishes.org/reward.
“We appreciate the efforts of these organizations that are working tirelessly to support our enforcement of aquarium collection laws, and to ensure only legal and pono fishing practices are used,” Suzanne Case, department chair of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, said in a department press release issued today.