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Report illegal aquarium collection

By Staff | Jan 3, 2019

Hawaii-based marine and animal protection organizations have joined forces with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to make it easy for people to report illegal aquarium collecting activity across the state.

In September 2017, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that state-issued aquarium permits were subject to environmental review under the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act (HEPA).

All permits to take aquatic life for aquariums using fine-meshed nets were declared illegal and invalid until an environmental review could be completed.

For the Fishes, Moana ‘Ohana, The Center for Biological Diversity, West Hawaii Humane Society and DLNR have combined resources to make it simple for anyone to report suspected poaching of reef creatures.

There is a new (808) NO-POACH reporting hotline, where concerned people can call or text images of alleged illegal activity.

Successful prosecution of a poaching case can result in a reward of up to $5,000 for the person or people who provided the tip.

Mike Nakachi of Moana ‘Ohana said, “We are asking for the public’s kokua (help) in reporting any suspected illegal reef wildlife collection. We continue to receive reports from concerned residents alleging illegal capture of our fragile and sacred reef animals.”

In addition to (808) NO-POACH, suspected illegal take of reef wildlife can be reported to (808) 643-DLNR, or download DLNRTip on Android and Apple devices.

To get educated on the issue and illegal methods, visit www.FortheFishes.org/reward.

State waters are vast, so the public has to help DLNR combat illegal poaching.

“We must all work together to ensure Hawaii’s rich marine life are protected from illegal poaching,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Hawaii director.

“Court orders and regulatory rulings suspending aquarium collecting is a good start, but those laws are meaningless without proper enforcement.”