HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - State conservation officers cited seven divers this week for alleged illegal spearfishing in protected waters off Waikiki.
The DLNR said DOCARE officers initially spotted 10 diving lights illuminating the waters of the Marine Life Conservation District and the adjoining Waikiki Fisheries Management Area near the natatorium.
Officers watched and confronted two of the men as they came out of the water. One of the men reportedly fled back into the water and alerted the rest of the group. That’s when the state says the divers turned off their diving lights and tried to swim further down the shore.
Authorities then followed the group until they got out of the water with their gear, and approximately 130 dead fish. The species they illegally caught included Palani, Kala, U’hu, He’e, Ulua, and sea cucumbers.
The DLNR said all of the dead animals were returned to the ocean.
The seven spearfishermen were cited for Prohibited Activities in a protected area, no diver flag, and possession of undersized fish.
All seven are said to be Honolulu residents.
DLNR Chief Jason Redulla said, “We are deeply appreciative of the people who are helping us watch out for our precious aquatic resources and reporting potential violations to DOCARE. Taking fish from any State MLCD is akin to stealing a baby from a nursery and we take these violations seriously and will pursue violators aggressively.”
Just last month, eight divers were caught with about 100 fish in the same off-limits area.
If you witness any violations, you’re urged to call 643-DLNR to report it.