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Thursday, April 4, 2024
DLNR Now Charging $1 to Use Ocean
By News Release @ 4:38 AM :: 1466 Views :: Environment, Small Business, Taxes, Tourism

ALOHA I KE KAI BUILDS RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OCEAN USE AND STEWARDSHIP

News Release from DLNR, April 1, 2024

(HONOLULU) – A one-dollar fee that can generate millions of dollars in funding for the protection of marine resources, is the idea behind the Hawai‘i Ocean Stewardship Fee Program or Aloha i ke Kai.

Beginning January 1, more than 500 companies with commercial use permits from the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR), began collecting one dollar from each passenger or customer for deposit into an Ocean Stewardship Special Fund administered by the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR). The division has now established an online portal for easy and efficient reporting and payment of the stewardship fees.

DAR Administrator Brian Neilson explained, “The fee program is directed to actions that enhance the health and abundance of our ocean, which benefits Hawai‘i’s residents, visitors, and our ocean economy. A healthy ocean is inextricably linked to a thriving economy and our way of life.”

The program is expected to generate $1-$5 million in revenue each year. Stewardship projects supported by the fees are intended to be community-led efforts. Neilson added, “Local businesses and commercial operators aren’t just collecting fees, but they’re sharing the message and teaching people about the importance of keeping Hawai‘i’s ocean waters vibrant and healthy. This is a collective effort to show how sustainable tourism and environmental care can go hand-in-hand. It’s really a win-win for the ocean, ocean users, and operators.”

DAR is allocating a fixed percentage of annual income to different project categories. Any collections that exceed what’s needed for a category will be allocated to other projects.

  • 25% Statewide Day Use Mooring Buoy
  • 20% Community Stewardship
  • 20% Coral Reef Restoration
  • 10% Improving Coastal Water Quality
  • 10% Education and Outreach
  • 5% Marine Invasive Species Management
  • 5% Commercial Operator Stewardship
  • 5% Marine Debris Prevention, Response, and Mitigation

DAR will provide regular updates on the Aloha i ke Kai website and produce an annual report to share the success and track expenditures of the program.

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