Maui News

New Oʻahu Aquarium Fishing Rules Now in Effect

April 20, 2015, 2:11 PM HST
* Updated April 20, 2:12 PM
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By Maui Now Staff

Aquarium fish collectors on Oʻahu now have a new set of rules to abide by that include bag and size limits.  There’s also a prohibition on the take of certain species.

The new rules apply to waters within three nautical miles of Oʻahu, and went into effect on April 2, 2015.

Photo courtesy DLNR Enforcement.

Photo courtesy DLNR Enforcement.

Division of Aquatic Resources Acting Administrator Alton Miyasaka said the new rules were requested by a group of commercial aquarium collectors from Oʻahu who recognized the need for better management of the fishery.

“The collectors were concerned about the potential for waste of limited resources when fish are taken and, due to rough handling or overcrowding, become injured prior to sale to dealers,” said Miyasaka in a department press release. “Their goal is to provide pristine fish to the world-wide market.”

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Under the new rules, “it is against the law for any aquarium fish collector, commercial or recreational, to possess a small mesh net more than 30 feet long or six feet high, or to join more than two such nets together for a combined length of more than 60 feet,” department officials said.

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DLNR officials say these limits are intended to reduce the use of long nets that would tend to increase injury to the fish collected.

There is also a prohibition on the take or possession of: ornate butterflyfish, oval butterflyfish, or reticulated butterflyfish because they feed strictly on coral and are therefore extremely difficult to maintain in captivity.

New daily commercial bag and size limits apply to: yellow tang, kole, naso tang, Achilles tang, Moorish idol, Potter’s angel, bandit (banded) angelfish and cleaner wrasse.

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The intention is to ensure the long-term viability of the fishery, officials said.

“We are extremely grateful to the O‘ahu aquarium fish collectors who brought this issue to our attention,” said Department of Land and Natural Resources Interim Chairperson Carty Chang. “Their desire for better management is exemplary, and we are pleased to be able to help bring to reality their efforts to improve the fishery,” said Chang.

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