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Old 02-15-2011, 12:33 AM   #1
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Hawaii State Legislature - SB 580 URGENT

My LFS has this posted on their website. What a blow this hobby will take if this bill passes. I copied and pasted the info from their website.


Hearing for SB580 (total ban on all aquarium fish collecting) on Thursday. Email below senators by Wednesday noon. The fight is on! Everyone even if it is only one paragraph do it!!! Just a paragraph on how this will hurt your business will be great. Start email with Opposed to SB 580 then state your reasons. Next email gives you an idea of what we are up to if you want to read it. Thanks RT

WLH email list, just copy and paste into your to section of your email:

sendelacruz@capitol.hawaii.gov; sensolomon@capitol.hawaii.gov; senfukunaga@Capitol.hawaii.gov; senryan@capitol.hawaii.gov; senshimabukuro@Capitol.hawaii.gov; sentokuda@Capitol.hawaii.gov; senslom@Capitol.hawaii.gov;

Or fax it to:

Fax: 808-586-6091


Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Chair

Senator Malama Solomon, Vice Chair


Thursday, February 3, 2011

1:15 p.m.

Conference Room 225

State Capitol

415 South Beretania Street


SB 580



Establishes prohibitions, penalties, and fines for knowingly selling aquatic life for aquarium purposes taken from waters within the jurisdiction of the State. Requires an aquarium permit to take marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes. Imposes new standards for aquarium permit issuance determinations.


This bill is, plain and simple, a complete statewide ban on the aquarium industry. News link:

Senators move to ban collection of fish for aquariums - Hawaii News - Staradvertiser.com

Here is the hearing notice:

Hearing WLH 02-03-11

Here is a copy of the bill:


It's crotically important that we attack this bill as hard as we can right now. If it passes out of this committee it'll give our opposition time to publicize the issue and make our lives that much harder. Everybody NEEDS to come to this hearing!

Also, everybody needs to:

- Call the office of Senator Dela Cruz and say that you're opposed to SB580. The phone number is 808-586-6090. Do this right away!
WLH email list, just copy and paste:

sendelacruz@capitol.hawaii.gov; sensolomon@capitol.hawaii.gov; senfukunaga@Capitol.hawaii.gov; senryan@capitol.hawaii.gov; senshimabukuro@Capitol.hawaii.gov; sentokuda@Capitol.hawaii.gov; senslom@Capitol.hawaii.gov

WLH Committee link;

Senate Committees


Donovan M. Dela Cruz
Senatorial District 22
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 202
phone: 808-586-6090
fax: 808-586-6091

Vice Chair

Malama Solomon
Senatorial District 1
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 207
phone: 808-586-7335
fax: 808-586-7339


Carol Fukunaga phone: 808-586-6890

Pohai Ryan phone: 808-587-8388

Maile S.L. Shimabukuro phone: 808-586-7793

Jill N. Tokuda phone: 808-587-7215

Sam Slom phone: 808-586-8420

- Prepare written testimony against the bill. The deadline is 24 hours before the hearing, so this needs to be done by Wednesday afternoon. However, attending the hearing in person is far more important than written testimony and carries much more weight. Calling all committee members is a good idea too.

- Get everybody you know (friends, family etc.) to do the same thing! The more the better.

Just some info for you-lots more on our website -link;

Hawaii Tropical Fish Association

I have supplied you with much information on this subject. Facts are in our favor. Half truths and emotion drive the anti-aquarium collectors activists Snorkel Bob and for the fishes. We have on our side Hilo city council (voted against aquarium fish collector recommendations to legislature), Honolulu City Council (Last month voted against herbivore ban, every member against it, forcing Maui to take it out of the legislative package), West Hawaii Fishery Council, DLNR marine biologists and even the main fish scientist in Kona Bill Walsh. All of them are against the way out there ecologists from Maui!

Many researchers believe Maui activists have greatly hurt Ocean management. Many very important issues need to be addressed. By focusing the attention away from more important issues they are doing more harm than good! This is also inferred by the letter below from Dan of DLNR. Lies, half truths and lack of knowledge behind legislation needs to stop. Working together for the good of all is what needs to happen!

The letter below says it all. These people do not know what they are talking about. For instance they say 9 million fish taken yearly-fact 900,000. All the fish die-fact 1%. They say we collect to many hermits and their shells are gone when we collect them and no shells for young hermits-fact neglected limpet shells supply the hermits and cover the near shore by the billions. Shells for hermits come from shells not other hermits. So the hermits have a endless supply of shells. These small tide pool hermits are billions strong. They are idiots when it comes to ocean ecology and it shows. They just looked at DLNR fish catch stats and came up with this ridiculous idea which is defiantly not fact based. When one half truth is exposed they come up with another. Anything to shut down the fishermen. The fishing industry they perceived as a conflict industry with tourist snorkel and dive groups. We work great with these groups on Oahu and other islands. Tourists spots are respected by us and have always have been! Even without laws. We like tourists-you do not see us trying to ban tourist charter groups-we could tell you some bad information about them too. Another half truth they say all we do is kill the fish-the fact is most live longer in captivity.

How you could support this is beyond my understanding. Education on this subject is all I can do so here is a letter which if you have not already read, you should read as it gives you insight into their misconceptions. Please read the below letter and what we do give back to the ocean section.

Below is Dan Polhemus' response about Rene Umberger's (Maui scuba industry activist ) statement regarding aquarium collectors under reporting and she likes to quote him directly.

Begin forwarded message:
From: Dan.A.Polhemus@hawaii.gov
Date: December 23, 2009 8:25:16 AM HST
Subject: Re: Your quote is being used is it accurate?


Thanks for the dialog. Let me see if I can address your questions.

First regarding underreported aquarium catch. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a comprehensive study of whether there is substantial underreporting in the aquarium fishery (or any other fishery). The numbers I’ve cited in the past (2X-5X unreported catch) are based on two previous studies of the Hawaii aquarium fishery. I have attached the reports for you. This is the best information that’s available. Given human nature it wouldn’t be surprising that some level of underreporting occurs but there is no information anywhere to support anything like the 1 figure which I’ve heard mentioned. Furthermore when we’ve compared the number of animals caught, as reported by collectors on their fish catch reports, with the numbers purchased by dealers there isn’t any indication of gross underreporting by the collectors.

As far as aquarium related mortality in Hawaii goes here’s a quote from a Cesar 2002 study “Mortality rates of aquarium fish are low and have gone down considerably since the last survey in 1984. Currently, mortality rates from collection to wholesaler are estimated at 0 to 1 percent. In the wholesalers tanks, mortality rates range from close to 0% up to 2%. During shipment, rates range from 0.75% to 2%. This give a current total of between 1% and 5%, down from a range of 5% to 8% in the early 1980’s (van Poolen and Obara, 1984; estimates of wholesalers and collectors, own study).”

I haven’t seen any work to support the figure of 99% mortality rate within one year for captive marinelife. For animals which have been collected using cyanide this may not be unrealistic and there is good work on such chemical related mortality. The aquarium fishery in Hawaii does not use destructive chemicals. The 2007 statistic cited indicating that 20,000 reef animals died while in the possession of collectors seems to be based upon comparing what collectors report as being caught vs. what’s sold. In 2007 this difference was 20,345 animals statewide. A closer examination of the catch report data reveals that of that total figure, 6,000 or so were miscellaneous shrimp, most likely opae ula, which were being harvested in fairly large numbers around that time. We don’t know why such large number of shrimp were caught and not sold. They may have been used for fishing purposes or to feed aquarium fish. They’re pretty hardy animals so this difference may not represent collector related mortality but a redirected use.

Another interesting component of the reporting that year was a single monthly report in March 2007 that indicated a catch of 8,897 yellow tangs by a Big Island collector. Of these only 850 were reported sold. This seems to be an unrealistically high reported catch for a single collector in one month not to mention in March, months before settlement of the young, more collectible, tangs occurs. We checked the actual report and there was a data entry error. It should have been 897 caught (not 8,897). Thus the total FY 2007 difference between #’s caught and sold is actually 12,345 of which almost half were miscellaneous shrimp. For FY 2009 we see that there was a difference of about 18,000 in the number reported caught and sold. 16,000 of these were opae ula. The difference in yellow tangs reported caught and sold was 2,233, which if it does represent mortality, suggests a collector to dealer mortality of 0.8% - quite similar to what Cesar found.

It is a good thing for folks to scrutinize and ask questions about what’s going on in our fisheries and on our reefs. These are important to all of us. A realistic perspective does need to be maintained however. Let me elaborate. On Maui in 2009 there were a total of 16,300 aquarium animals caught, representing 82 different species. Yellow tangs accounted for 69% while Kole was 7% of the catch. During that same year non-aquarium commercial fishers captured (and killed) 319,491 reef fishes of 75 species. While yellow tangs weren’t caught to any degree there was considerable overlap in a number of the other species. To the commercial food catch one can add another 480,000 reef fish taken by recreational/subsistence fishers (extrapolated from 2006 NOAA Rec Fishing Survey data). So, in the grand scheme of things, the aquarium take on Maui is literally a drop in the bucket, representing less than 2% of the total mortality of reef animals that year. This serves to point out that undue focus and hyperbole about aquarium collecting and its impact on the reefs is dangerously shortsighted and counterproductive. We need to think and act holistically.

Hope I didn’t overwhelm you with numbers.

- Dan Polhemus

Division of Aquatic Resources
State of Hawaii DLNR
1151 Punchbowl St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

Phone: (808) 587-0100
e-mail: Dan.A.Polhemus@hawaii.gov

Written by Ron Tubbs,

Aquarium Fish Collectors and what we do.

We care and do many things to protect our fish and Ocean resources.

For years fish collectors have provided fish to educate schools across the nation. In Hawaii schools are taken on field trips to local aquarium fish wholesalers or children to ocean fieldtrips by some of our collectors. One program brought live fish to the classrooms for children education. Fish collection for major public aquariums locally and worldwide educate many on Ocean ecology. Many fish rarer or not have been caught and donated to Waikiki Aquarium for research and education.

Rare species are left alone and protected by collectors. Collectors have repopulated fish to areas where populations have declined due to extreme warm summers. Fish population issues are reported to researchers.

Turtles caught in nets are remove when found. Hooks and fishing line around turtles are removed. A hook found in monk seals mouth was reported and NOAA captured and removed the hook. Garbage and nets are removed by many collectors. Some even collect the old bottles found in the ocean. Illegal dumping grounds are reported. Old downed planes and wrecks are reported and identified by researchers.

Many boat rescues and ocean users have been aided by tropical fish collectors. Ocean abuses have been reported by aquarium collectors. Many aquarium fish collectors are Marine Biologists, Zoologist, and Ichthyologists. Information is shared by most collectors with other researchers to aid in ocean ecology. Black coral infestation of an invasive species was reported for observation. Pictures and video are shared. Fish populations are watched by collectors to aid researchers.

The recent toxic killing of puffer fish in Hawaii has led to the self imposed no collection of all puffers until the natural or manmade poison can be identified or eliminated. Researchers are brought samples and taken to normally abundant puffer locations to help with the problem. We are happy to report that numerous baby puffers and large breeding schools of puffers have been observed. The die off may not bee as serious as once thought.

Pregnant reef fish are collected with our help for researchers to aid breeding projects. Ocean food is supplied for captive breeding stocks. Trigger fish have been supplied for US Navel ocean propulsion studies. We have supplied state fisheries with breeding stock for research and repopulation.

Invasive species like Argus groupers and blue line snappers are targeted and eliminated with the help of the tropical fish collectors. These invasive species kill more marine fish than the aquarium fish collectors!

Aquarium fish collectors have gone on TV shows and spoke for ocean ecology and shared information to protect our ocean. NOAA researchers and others studying fish are educated in fish collecting techniques for research purposes. We are the best eyes of Hawaii as we go many places other divers or tourists do not and can greatly help with the preservation and care of the oceans of Hawaii.

The ocean is our future more than anyone else's. We love to give back. If you need our help doing so contact us.

Ron Tubbs B.S. N.D.

RT Distributors Inc.


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Old 02-15-2011, 10:57 AM   #2
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Wow this is crazy. I will post just to bump this up for awareness. So many other industries are much more of a detrament to reefs and saltwater fish. Pollution alone distroys far more of the marine environment every day then we probably do in 6 months. At the end of the day we love the reef far more then most and would give back to try and save it. Snorkel bob is just a retarded stunt man.

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Old 02-15-2011, 01:36 PM   #3
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I picked a good time to get into the hobby... :P
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Old 02-15-2011, 01:44 PM   #4
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Did I miss something important. I didn't read the whole thing, but in the very beginning, it says "Requires an aquarium permit to take marine or freshwater nongame fish and other aquatic life for aquarium purposes. Imposes new standards for aquarium permit issuance determinations."

Doesn't that mean only folks with permits can harvest marine life for the aquarium trade? And that permits issuance may be revised? I'd imagine that would be so those with licenses act more responsibly.

Did I stop reading too early or is there something else I don't know?

"Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we are here we might as well dance!"

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Old 02-15-2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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1188- Selling of aquatic life for aquarium purposes
5 prohibited; penalties; fines. (a) It shall be unlawful for any
6 person at any time to knowingly or intentionally sell or offer
7 to sell, for aquarium purposes, aquatic life taken from any of
8 the waters within the jurisdiction ,of the State.

On page 4 of the PDF file,

(c) It shall be illegal to sell or offer for sale any fish
22 and other aquatic life taken under an aquarium fish permit
[unless those fish and other aquatic life are sold alive for aquarium purposes.]

Looks to me like they are trying to ban the sale/trade of fish for aquariums.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:11 PM   #6
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At the very bottom of the PDF, I'm reading this as a conflicting statement. This says that it will be illegal to take reef fish for sale, but then goes on to talk about permits for taking. But the part in bold concerns me.

Establishes prohibitions, penalties, and fines for knowingly
selling aquatic life for aquarium purposes taken from waters
within the jurisdiction of the State
. Requires an aquarium
permit to take marine or freshwater nongame fish and other
aquatic life for aquarium purposes. Imposes new standards for
aquarium permit issuance determinations.
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:14 PM   #7
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That still only says to me that unless you have a permit, stay out of the water. Add " if you do not have a permit" to the bold section. Does that look better?

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Old 02-15-2011, 03:23 PM   #8
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I read about this a couple of weeks ago. Any fish that you want from Hawaii you better hurry up and buy them is what I was told. There will be NO MORE FISH coming from Hawaii to be sold in the stores was my basic understanding.
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Old 02-15-2011, 03:39 PM   #9
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If they allow fish to be sold as long as you have a permit then i don't mind this so much. Keeping a close eye on who and how much is being take/sold is a good thing and a responsible for the overall health of the reef. Banning them all together is enough to make me grab my picket signs and loud speaker. I'm not really sure how to interpret the bill one way or the other but i really hope however it plays out that there is not a ban in Hawii.
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Old 02-15-2011, 05:02 PM   #10
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I know theta ban everything so we can drill for oil only, and kill everything anyway. Makes sense to me.

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