Friday, December 01, 2017


Maui judge Joseph E. Cardoza blocks Hawaii Longline Association from intervening in lawsuit challenging licensing of foreign fishermen

by Larry Geller

Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) denied without public hearing a petition filed by a Native Hawaiian waterman challenging the state's issuance of fishing licences to foreigners who cannot land in Hawaii. The petition was filed in April 2017 and ignored by DLNR until prompted in July, whereupon they denied the petition without a public hearing. The denial was appealed to the Environmental Court on Maui (see: New complaints challenge human rights abuses in Hawaii's fishing fleet).

Attorney Lance Collins issued the following information this afternoon following a ruling by an Maui Enviornmental Court Judge:

The Hon. Joseph E. Cardoza, Maui's Environmental Circuit
Court Judge, yesterday denied the Hawai'i Longline Association's request
to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Native Hawaiian fisherman Malama Chun
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

Malama Chun petitioned the Board of Land and Natural Resources seeking
an order stopping the Division of Aquatic Resources from illegally
issuing permits. That request was denied and Chun appealed to the
Environmental Court.

Oral arguments will be held on December 13, 2017 at 10:00 am in

See also New complaints challenge human rights abuses in Hawaii's fishing fleet for information on a complaint filed with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

The plight of foreign fishermen in Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet was first reported by the Associated Press on September 8, 2016 (see: Hawaiian seafood caught by foreign crews confined on boats or Like Hawaiian seafood? Here’s who’s catching it). The AP reporters have received a Pulitzer Prize for their work exposing human rights abuses in the fisheries that supply America’s supermarkets and restaurants.


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