Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
March 2000 Vol. 26, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

Hawaiian Collection

from the March, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

While marine advocates and Hawaii’s tropical fish collectors have been at each other’s throats for decades, it hasn’t seemed to matter. Despite 20-year studies indicating that the practice has substantial impact on fish populations, and despite public comment that was 93.5% in favor of a partial ban, fish collecting has been de rigueur. From the human point of view, this isn’t major industry — as of 1999, there were only about 50 commercial aquarium permits for west Hawaii — but the annual take of those who held them was estimated to be at least 225,000 critters. This amounts to a whopping 4,500 fish per operator, many of them rarities such as lionfish, Tinker’s angelfish, and flame angels.

The grassroots movement to limit collecting began garnering serious attention after a 1995 Kona town meeting on the issue attended by over 230 people. The Hawaii legislature organized a community study group shortly thereafter, and in July, 1998, after circulating petitions and holding meetings galore, fish advocates tasted victory. “Act 306” of the Hawaii legislature designated a minimum of 30% of west Hawaii coastal waters as “Fish Replenishment Areas,” effective December 31, 1999. Currently nine separate areas from Upolu Point (North Kohala) to Ka Lae (Ka’u) have been declared off-limits to collectors, an area comprising 35.2% of west Hawaiian coast.

The process is just beginning. Proponent Lisa Choquette of Dive Makai notes that it’s far too soon to evaluate what impact the ban will have on fish populations. “In previously shut down areas that are substantially depleted, it has taken about 5 years for a noticeable difference,” she says. “It’s been a long, nasty fight, but slowly the tide is turning for the fish!!”

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2024 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.