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 Flickr.com