Amend Scuba Spearfishing Ban


Target: The state of Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources

Goal: Protect the marine life of Hawaii while accommodating fishermen’s needs

Recently, the state of Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources passed a ban that prohibits scuba spearfishing in waters off of West Hawaii. This ban does not affect regular spearfishing, but even so, local fishermen argue that the ban will negatively affect their abilities to gather the proper species and proper amounts of fish needed.

Supporters of the ban claim that scuba divers are able to target different types of fish than divers who do not use scuba gear, and many of these fish are in deeper waters in order to take refuge. In addition, supporters say scuba divers often target larger fish, an issue because the offspring of larger female fish tend to survive better than the offspring of younger, smaller fish. They argue that these stronger offspring are important to the vitality of the marine life in the area. While these are valid concerns, they are not strong enough to justify the newly enacted ban. While there is a need to better regulate scuba spearfishing, there is no need to completely ban the practice.

According to Hawaii News Now, the Board’s department staffers say that the new ban “…will allow officials to more effectively regulate and manage marine resources.” Although this ban may be effective in regards to regulation, it is unfair to fishermen. There are alternative measures that can be taken that will increase protection of marine life, while preserving the fishermen’s livelihoods. These measures can include limiting the number and size of fish that can be gathered and reducing the number of areas in which fishermen are allowed to harvest.

In order to determine if the current ban is truly necessary, alternative regulations should first be enacted. Only if these measures fail, should this ban be instituted. By signing the petition below, you will urge the state of Hawaii’s Board of Land and Natural Resources to amend the ban on scuba spearfishing, and instead allow the practice to continue with stronger regulatory measures in place.


Dear Board of Land and Natural Resources,

The recent ban on scuba spearfishing was passed with the greatest of intentions in mind. There is a need for better regulation of marine resources. However, completely banning the use of scuba gear while diving is not the way to attain this. The new ban is unfair to fishermen and will negatively impact their livelihoods.

Instead of continuing forward with this ban, we are requesting that you first implement stricter regulations on scuba spearfishing. This way, fishermen are still allowed to dive using scuba gear, and marine resources will remain better protected. If stricter regulations do not eliminate the issue, then reinstate the current ban. We are urging you to give fishermen the chance to show that they are willing and able to abide by stricter regulations rather than completely prohibiting them from scuba spearfishing.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Steve Jurvetson via

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  1. Christine Stewart says:

    NOT signing. The fish need to be able to take refuge from fishermen in the depths- and they won’t be able to escape spear fishers with SCUBA gear.

  2. Michael Turnbough says:

    I agree with Christine. The ban is completely warranted. Fishermen need to find decent jobs that don’t involve brutalizing animals so that they can become real contributions to society. Anyone that signs this petition should be ashamed of themselves for supporting the senseless killing of marine animals.
    <3 All Animals

    • Hi'ilei Haru says:

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. However, fishing is not senseless killing as long as it is monitored and regulated. FIshing provides food for people, and while some people may be vegetarians or vegans, not everyone is, and these people have the right to have access to food, including fish. Hence, fishermen provide great contributions to society, especially in Hawaii, as fish is often a staple in many residents’ diets. The reason I wrote this petition was to acknowledge that yes, more regulation is definitely needed, however, there is another way this regulation can be achieved; a ban is not the only answer. I, just as much as the next animal lover, do not want these fish to be excessively hunted. However, I do recognize the needs of others involved in this issue, like the fish-eating public and the fishermen whose jobs will be affected. Therefore, the point of the petition is to emphasize a compromise that will help both parties, basically, a more fair solution to all involved and affected. Of course, if the ban were removed and another solution proved ineffective, then yes, I would say the ban is the only option.

  3. Hi'ilei Haru says:

    Thank you for sharing your opinion. I understand what you are saying, and in writing this petition I wanted to emphasize creating a system that could protect fish as well as protect the livelihoods and jobs of fishermen. The fish do need more protection, but fishermen need to be able to continue to make a living, as they deserve this as well. People on both sides of the issue will never be fully satisfied, but I do believe the government and the fishermen could create an effective system that would protect both parties. And if a compromise cannot be reached, then I do think the ban would be appropriate. However, I do not feel it is the only solution.

  4. You need enforcement and stricter bag limits to help the fish populations, although banning scuba could help

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