January 30th, 2009 by shayla
I am have some very disturbing news to tell you, news that may shock you as much as it shocked me when I was informed… did you know that Hawaii’s reef fish are being ‘stolen’ from their reef ’homes’, by the thousands, and sent all around the world for profit? If that weren’t shocking enough, did you know that there is NO REGULATION, NO LIMITS, NO LICENSING, and NO ACCOUNTABILITY on this widespread (and very lucrative) practice?? Can you believe that our legislature has not seen fit to approve a bill to regulate and oversee this outrageous practice?! Can you imagine that a bill to protect and regulate fish gathering was not passed by our elected officials last year? And can you believe it took into the late 2000′s to even see fit to hear a bill about this problem?!!! I know that I am appauled…. ARE YOU?!?
I truly can’t believe it! But, what’s even more disturbing is the incredible political power of the lobby for fish collectors… it is VERY STRONG! Why? Because collecting and selling fish is EXTREMELY LUCRATIVE! Why so lucrative? Because ANYONE WITH A BUCKET AND A WILL CAN COLLECT AND SELL AS MANY FISH AS THEY PLEASE!!!!!!! They can do this EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK if they choose… no one can stop them, or protest because there is NO LAW to protect our innocent fish!
I have had the pleasure of living on Maui the last 4 years, and even in this short time, I have seen the dwindling aquarium fish population of our nearby reefs often end up denuded entirely by this outrageous and greedy practice! ‘Gatherers’ will go down with SCUBA tanks and fill multiple 5 gallon buckets with hundreds of small fish- filling many, many buckets in only a dive or two. If that weren’t bad enough, these small fish often don’t survive the transport and sale and simply perish. It is a CRIME in my mind… but not in Hawaii legislature’s … at least so far.
We have another chance to help our legislature ‘see the light’. Thankfully, a few Hawaii residents have spent countless hours preparing a new bill to put in front of our state legislature. We have the first of many hearings happening TODAY, January 30, 2009. All testimonials are welcome! NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE, YOU MAY TESTIFY!!!
Here are the details on how YOU CAN TAKE ACTION… TODAY!!!!
HB 191 to regulate the aquarium trade in Hawaii is scheduled for a hearing in the House Water, Land & Ocean Resources Committee (WLO) on Monday morning, February 2, at 9 a.m. in Room 325 at the State Capitol.
PLEASE attend and testify if you can. If you cannot attend, submit testimony as follows (no faxes—all testimony is electronic now):
2) Type in “HB191” where it asks for the measure, then click on “Get latest hearing.”
3) Verify the information is correct – it should say:
4) Fill in your info* and select: SUPPORT. Write a brief comment. Click “Submit”.
*you will see space for your home address but this info is not necessary for your testimony to count. This issue is emotional. This info will be printed. You may want to put only your general area of residence.
TALKING POINTS FOR COMMENTARY SECTION: Keep it brief. Avoid facts & figures. No matter what we say, the aquarium advocates will call it untrue. The committee will count support and opposition. Give the aquarium collectors NOTHING to grasp.
IF YOU CAN ATTEND, you should refute any untruths in aquarium collector testimony.
NOTE: TESTIMONY CAN BE FILED TECHNICALLY UNTIL 9 A.M. SUNDAY, BUT THIS IS YEAR ONE FOR ALL ELECTRONIC TESTIMONY, SO FOR BEST ODDS ON COUNTING, SUBMIT BY 4 P.M. FRIDAY—TODAY!
Later today, www.SaveHawaiianReefs.org will have updated support info where you can find answers to your questions on the issues.
Also scheduled for Monday’s WLO hearings is HB366 to protect manta rays:
Mainland and international aquariums are looking to harvest our mantas for their exhibits – they may only live several months in captivity. Please testify in support of HB366 as well, using the same instructions but inserting “HB366” in the first step.
This is the culmination of years of campaigning. We have a shot. Thank you, thank you, thank you. A hui hou…