‘Tis the Season—For Hawaii Aquarium Ban Bills

05 Feb, 2020

Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library. Photographer: David Burdick.

Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens), Achilles Tang (Acanthurus achilles), and chub (species indeterminate) on a rocky section of Hawaiian reef off Maui. Image Credit: NOAA Photo Library. Photographer: David Burdick.

via Marine Aquarium Societies of North America (MASNA)

MASNA has shared this urgent message from Hawaiian aquarium fish collector Randy Fernley:

Hello, everyone!

A bill is being introduced in the Hawaii State legislature this week that calls for a total shutdown of the tropical fish fishery in Hawaii.

The bill is attached: HB 2154.


The bill will be heard this coming Thursday 2/6 at 9:15 in conference room 325 — despite overwhelming science over the past 20 years that proves that the fishery is not only sustainable but shows fish populations of the most commonly caught fish (Yellow Tang and Kole Tang) have increased 95-105% in the open areas due to DLNR’s successful management of the fishery.

Nonetheless, we need your help in sending in testimony to OPPOSE this ridiculous bill!

How to send testimony

To send in testimony (you don’t need to be a resident of Hawaii), please follow these simple instructions:

Testimony must be sent in 24 hrs prior to the hearing. Cut-off is Wed 2/5 at 9:15 am (Hawaiian Time)

Visit the Hawaii State Legislature website

Click on “Register” (if you haven’t signed in before)

Register by putting in your name, organization—if any, phone #, email address, and password

Click on “I understand…..”

Click on “Create User”

You will then be registered to submit testimony.

Then go back to the “Home Page”

Go to “Bill Status/ Measure Status”

Type in “HB 2154”

Please voice your opposition to this bill and write in any testimony that you feel is appropriate. Please help us by opposing this bill—many thanks!

Here are some key points to consider when you are submitting testimony on HB 2154

Preliminary key points are as follows:

  1. The purpose of the bill is to protect the environment. The best available information indicates the Aquarium Fishery has no adverse impacts on the environment.
  2. Passing the bill will ignore this science and result in substantial economic impacts on fishers and business involved in this fishery.
  3. The fishery has spent thousands of dollars developing HEPA EISs for these fisheries, and the analysis in these documents should be carefully considered.
  4. The bill is not justified, and it will impact native Hawaiians engaged in this lawful fishery.




Related Posts

About the author

Avatar photo
Reef To Rainforest

Reef to Rainforest Media, LLC is the publisher of award-winning magazines and books in the fields of aquarium keeping, aquatics, and marine science. It is the English-language publisher of CORAL Magazine and is based in Shelburne, Vermont, USA.


  1. February 11, 2020

    Received the email Coral Newsletter on 2/11/20 which included an article about the Hawaii Aquarium Ban Bill dated 2/5/20 asking for support in objecting to this bill by 2/5/20. Unfortunately Coral failed to get this information out in time, delivering the newsletter nearly a week later, in order to provide any such testimony.

    • Avatar photo
      February 17, 2020

      Craig, I hear you! I should note that we only received word of the bill about 24 hours before the comment period closed, and we published the blog post ASAP and pushed it out on all our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). There were only hours left by that point. While the time for commentary had passed by the time our newsletter was sent, I believe the story serves as a reminder to remain vigilant with regards to marine aquarium trade issues at home and abroad.

  2. February 14, 2020

    Bill died in committee

    • Avatar photo
      February 17, 2020

      Thanks for the update Dan!

      • February 21, 2020

        Thanks Matt for putting it out there. I live hilo side Big Island and found out my representative from my district was one of the authors of the Bill. We lost most the east side of this island to lava flow. Our fisherman lost there main launch ramp to this super productive reef area.

        I said how can she sponser a bill ,when our fisherman are having a hard time just reaching old fishing areas..
        We are barely surving.

Leave a reply

Receive FREE e-Newsletters from the editors of CORAL Magazine.

Sign up to get interesting news and updates delivered to your inbox.

Thank you! You have successfully subscribed to the CORAL Magazine e-newsletter.