HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – After hours of testimony, the state Land Board voted Friday to reject the Oahu aquarium fishing industry’s final environmental impact statement.
The proposal, submitted by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, was aimed at reopening the commercial aquarium pet trade on the island.
In the statement, the industry was in support of issuing permits to 15 commercial aquarium collectors, which would allow them to catch fish in Oahu waters.
The board said it decided to reject the FEIS for discrepancies between the draft and final proposal and concern over the lack of community and cultural consultation and the lack of environmental impact analysis on aquarium fishing.
Six board members voted to deny the FEIS, and one abstained.
DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources had recommended to accept the FEIS.
Earthjustice, an nationwide environmental law organization applauded the Land Board’s decision.
“I really appreciated the board’s deliberation. I know it was difficult because you had a lot of individual collectors from the island that were talking about how this affects their livelihoods,” said Mahesh Cleveland, an Earthjustice attorney.
“The EIS is prepared according to a process that guarantees public participation — the consultants didn’t do that, and so the individual fishers are having to suffer. I wish the local folks who live and work here and are struggling because of these legal issues, I wish they could have had a better consultant to prepare their EIS.”
Those in favor of the statement will have an opportunity to review the boards concerns and determine whether to revise the EIS to address them.
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