Groups question state's rules for ocean permits - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Groups question state's rules for ocean permits

HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaiian Surf Adventures takes customers on paddleboard tours of Maunalua Bay. Owner Bud Brasier recently bought the business.

"There's a lot of confusion around the permitting system right now," he said.

Last September, the state's boating department began requiring commercial permits from companies that operate in waters close to shorelines because of high demand for space. Now several community groups are saying the state didn't hear from all stakeholders and should suspend the permit system.

"We didn't find out about it until it was signed into law," said Ann Marie Kirk of Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.

She fears Maunalua Bay will be open game and recreational users will be crowded out.

"It's saying we're opening the bay for commercial activity with no rules, no guidelines, no regulations," she said.

"The bay is the same size it was 100 years ago. Our population is not the same size as 100 years ago," Portlock resident Clyde Kaimuloa said. "It doesn't make sense for us to kill what we have. So there has to be a balance."

The state said the permit system enables it to regulate existing activities and new ones. Since the rule started, two companies have been granted permits to use Maunalua Bay. Kirk said some companies are ignoring the permit rule.

"DLNR and DOBOR are not enforcing the rules now. How are they going to enforce it when they have more commercial users in the bay?" she said.

Several companies are working in the bay while they wait for their applications to be approved. Hawaiian Surf Adventures has applied for its permit.

"We want to follow the rules. We want to play by the rules. We want everyone else to play by the rules," Brasier said.

Kirk said community groups want a say in what the rules say.

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