Saturday, July 11, 2020
Just askin’: Is Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet taking steps to avoid the coronavirus?
by Larry Geller
Longline fishing boats are exactly the kind of confined space that promotes transmission of the coronavirus.
The fishing industry is depressed right now, so perhaps some ships are idled with no crew present. Those still out plying the waves seem potentially vulnerable.
Hawaii also has a special problem: the majority of its longline fleet is crewed by foreign fishermen illegally licensed contrary to state law HRS §189-5. 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.
At the pier one can see a few boats docked and clusters of alien fishermen remaining on the boat decks.
Isn’t it time to send them home (with pay!) and let Hawaiians crew these ships as the economy recovers?