Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Petition filed by Native Hawaiian fisherman against Hawaii’s illegal licensing of foreign longline fishermen
75% of workers in Hawaii’s long lines industry are said to be foreign fisherman who are not allowed to even set foot in Hawaii because they are in a technical state of deportation as they fish (see: Three months after the AP revealed slave-like conditions aboard boats in the Hawaii fishing fleet, no fix is in sight, 12/7/2016).
State law is pretty clear but is not enforced: HRS §189-5, titled "Aliens not admitted to United States," states that: “It is unlawful for any person who has not been lawfully admitted to the United States toengage in taking marine life for commercial purposes in the waters of the State.”
The press release explains this new action, which is a petition that the Board of Land and Natural Resources is required to hear. An OCR copy of the petition is attached below.
Wailuku, Maui — Malama Chun, a Native Hawaiian waterman, who fishes, has filed a petition with the state Board of Land and Natural Resources challenging DLNR's Division of Aquatic Resources practice of issuing licenses to foreign fisherman who have been refused permission to land in Hawai'i by U.S. authorities and have been ordered deported.
State law restricts the issuance of commercial fishing licenses to persons "lawfully admitted to the United States" Foreign fishermen working in the longline fishing industry are refused permission to land in the United States by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and are also ordered deported. However, using a loophole, they authorize the fisherman's boat captain to hold the fisherman's passport and the deportation order and allow the boat captain to determine when the deportation is to occur. To enforce the deportation order, the piers at which the fishing boats dock are heavily militarized and access is restricted.
Malama Chun said, "Fishermen are the state's first line of defense in observing and reporting harmful activities that threaten our public marine resources. These individuals are prohibited from freely moving in Hawai'i and are subject to the total control of their employer. They are simply unable to report violations to authorities."
Chun's attorney, Lance D. Collins, added: "The statute is clear when it limits commercial fishing licenses to persons "lawfully admitted" to the United States. Previous to 1949 when "lawfully admitted" was added to the statute, any person could obtain a fishing license."
Under Board of Land and Natural Resources rules, the Board will now consider the petition and either grant a declaratory order confirming the practice as illegal or deny the petition.