W. Hawaii fisheries: What’s to study? Sign it already
I read your story in Friday’s West Hawaii Today about the importance of sharks to the ecology and health of Hawaii’s reef systems. As a scuba diver who has dived Kona reefs since the 1970s, I can attest to the fact that there has been an incredible degradation of the reef fish population, as well as the behavior of the fish toward divers. I attribute this condition to the increased plundering of the fish population by humans.
In your story, you indicated that the West Hawaii Fisheries Rule Package lays languishing on the governor’s desk, several months after it was passed. The governor’s spokeswoman said that the package was “under review.” So, what’s to review? This subject has been studied and reviewed for decades by so many people far more qualified than anyone in the governor’s office that it is absurd to think that any further review on his part would be warranted.
One can only conclude that the governor wants the rule to die for lack of his signature so Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila and his fellow aquarium collector buddies can have free reign to take whatever and as much as they want, and the scuba spearfishermen can complete the decimation of the near-shore fisheries. Just yesterday, I witnessed a man selling at least 10 spiny lobsters and several reef fish, including a large parrotfish to another person. You can draw your own conclusion.
West Hawaii has a unique reef system in all the major Hawaiian Islands and truly great diving conditions owing to the topography of the island, our weather patterns and lack of agricultural runoff that kills live coral. It deserves protection. Without protection of the fish populations, the whole reef system is in peril. If you want to see our reefs have a chance to return to their original pristine conditions, contact the governor and urge him to sign the package.