Thursday, August 12, 2010


Maui County shaming state with new protective reef bill

The Maui County permit law will close these gaps on wildlife trafficking as it occurs on land within county jurisdiction. The new law is also seen as a defense against the Superferry that would facilitate Oahu and Big Island aquarium hunters in their unlimited extraction of Maui County reefs.

by Larry Geller

As Robert Wintner points out in his article today in the Huffington Post, Maui County Council Ordinance Curbs Reef Extraction for Aquarium Trade (8/12/2010), the State of Hawaii has done nothing to limit the plunder of its reef fish for shipment to lucrative markets in China.

Maui County is taking matters into its own hands with a bill that has passed first reading at the Maui County Council.

If the bill passes a second and final reading on Tuesday, August 24, it will require stringent permits and standards, including mortality reports, humane treatment, tax clearance and fees on all marine wildlife trafficking for the pet trade -- a first in Hawaii aquarium extraction.

Although county jurisdiction ends at the high-water mark, this aquarium trade regulation is a milestone in Hawaii, where the State has declined to regulate for decades.

Please read this excellent article. It describes not only what happens when algae-eating herbivores and other species are removed from the reefs but the cruelty to which these creatures are subjected in the process of shipment overseas.

The bill will have its final reading on August 24, according to the article. Oahu aquarium dealers can be expected to turn out in force against it. The Huffington Post article can help generate support from those who care about Hawaii’s reefs. Read it, pass it on, support Maui’s initiative.

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the only problem with this bill (of great intent) is that its totally unenforceable. the county already has a hard time enforcing much of the laws it has previously passed. this is really a state issue that implicates state jurisdiction and needs a state solution. the bill's great intent just ends up scoring political points with the Maui environmental community since its practical effect will be that of a nonbinding resolution. politicians at their best.

I was wondering about that.

Still, I wonder how Maui's initiative could raise consiousness for the need for a state-wide protective law.

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