Aquarium fishing banned in West Hawaii waters pending review

Aquarium fishing banned in West Hawaii waters pending review

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii officials have instituted a ban on commercial aquarium fishing in West Hawaii waters.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced the ban on Friday pending the results of an environmental review.

The department's action follows a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling in September that barred the issuance of permits for aquarium fishing until the review is complete.

The state worked to regulate the industry 20 years ago, establishing marine protected areas covering roughly 35 percent of Hawaii Island's leeward reef areas.

A bill introduced by Democrat state Sen. Karl Rhoads of Oahu, which passed the Legislature in 2017, aimed to eliminate aquarium fishing in Hawaii. But Gov. David Ige vetoed the bill, saying science conducted throughout nearly two decades didn't justify that the industry operates at an unsustainable rate.

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