(ABOVE VIDEO) Footage from the Nov. 18 Hawaii County Council Committee discussion courtesy the County of Hawaii, reported by Sherry Bracken. Includes some underwater video by Visionary Video.
A possible new law relating to the treatment of aquarium life generated lengthy discussion during a county council hearing last week. Bill 318 was heard by the County Council Committee on Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability during its November 18 meeting in Kona.
Aquarium fish collecting has been a controversial industry in West Hawaii for decades. The situation on the reef is particularly tense these days, following an altercation between a collector and an environmentalist in the waters off Kona earlier this year. The apparent attack made national headlines. On Tuesday, the public packed the West Hawaii Civic Center in order to sound off on the proposal.
EXTENDED VIDEO TESTIMONY
Deputy Clerk Maile David, set to become a councilmember at the start of the term next week, read the measure into the record. The bill was introduce by North Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille.
Robert Wintner of Snorkel Bob’s fame spoke in favor of the bill.
The proposed rules also found support from Inga Gibson of the Humane Society
Native Hawaiians like Kaimi Kaupiko also testified for the bill.
But not all Native Hawaiians were in support. Take for example, Bimo Akiona, former police officer and fish collector.
Mainly, opposition to the bill came from the aquarium trade industry. Here is testimony from Eric Koch and Jim Lovell.
The measure even riled the AZA: Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Bruce Carlson spoke on behalf of the organization.
Councilmembers discussed the measure following the public input.
The bill was ultimately postponed to the call of the chair.