Hawaii reef fish collection slows following court ruling
HONOLULU (AP) — The number of Hawaii reef fish caught by fishermen with commercial marine licenses for the aquarium trade has fallen by about 80 percent since a state court ruling slowed the industry and stopped the use of fine mesh nets last year.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the licensed fisherman caught nearly 43,500 reef fish in September and about 34,000 in October, but the numbers dropped following the court battles between fish advocates and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The numbers fell to about 11,800 in November following the late October court ruling. The catch numbers then dropped to about 6,700 by June.
A 30-day public comment period begins Wednesday on an environmental impact statement about the future of reef fish collecting.
This story has been changed to clarify that figures are for the aquarium fish trade.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com