Ban Commercial Collection of Hawaii’s Reef Wildlife for Aquariums

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Target: Hawaii State Legislature

Goal: Ban commercial collection of reef wildlife for aquariums, which is causing immense destruction to Hawaii’s coral reefs.

Each year, between 1.5 million and 3.75 million fish and marine invertebrates are taken from Hawaii’s coral reefs to be used in household aquariums. Not being able to transition into a man-made environment, these animals suffer and die at rates far higher than they do in their native ecosystem. A majority of Hawaiians opposes this destructive practice, thus it is time to seek a ban on commercial collection of reef wildlife.

Not only is this practice decimating Hawaii’s fragile reef ecosystems, it is an affront to Hawaiian cultural values. Native Hawaiians prioritize caring for their land and sea. According to Kaimi Kaupiko, a native Hawaiian, “They have destroyed our reefs, killed our fish, and are taking away a cultural practice that we, Kanaka maoli, have practiced since we inhabited the Hawaiian Islands. A ban is needed.”

Aside from protected reefs off of west Hawaii, most of the state’s reefs are open for collection. Most species are also open for collection, and for almost all of the 260 targeted species, there is no limit to the size, age, or number taken.

Last year, Hawaii, Kaua’i and Maui county governments called for a statewide trade ban on the collection of reef wildlife, but more pressure is needed to make this a reality. Hawaii is the third-largest supplier of marine wildlife to the global aquarium market, and the largest in the U.S., yet a majority of Hawaiians oppose the destruction of their native reefs. Urge Hawaii to ban commercial collection of reef wildlife for aquariums today.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Members of the Hawaii State Legislature,

Hawaii’s coral reefs are suffering from the highly unregulated trade of reef wildlife for household aquariums. Most of the state’s reefs are open for collection, and most species are also open for collection, with no limit to the size, age, or number taken for nearly all of the targeted species. With a majority of Hawaiians opposed to this practice, a statewide ban is long overdue.

Not only is this practice decimating Hawaii’s fragile reef ecosystems, it is an affront to Hawaiian cultural values. Native Hawaiians prioritize caring for their land and sea. According to Kaimi Kaupiko, a native Hawaiian, “They have destroyed our reefs, killed our fish, and are taking away a cultural practice that we, Kanaka maoli, have practiced since we inhabited the Hawaiian Islands. A ban is needed.”

Hawaii cannot allow the continued destruction of its reef ecosystems in favor of profiting from the household aquarium trade. Tourists from around the globe are drawn to these unique and beautiful environments, so it is in your best interest to protect them. Please ban the commercial collection of reef wildlife throughout Hawaii today.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

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544 Signatures

  • Eric von Borstel
  • Mal Gaff
  • Hermann Kastner
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