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Hawaii Island Aquarium Fishers Agree to Large Fine for Illegal Harvest

HONOLULU – Tyron and Kacie Terazono of Kealakekua have agreed to pay a large fine for the illegal harvest of aquarium fish, offshore of Kawaihae in Hawai‘i County, in February 2020.

Acting on tips, officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) conducted a commercial fishing gear and catch inspection of the couple’s boat, Masako, when it returned to the Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor on Feb. 20, 2020. The inspection found 550 live tropical fish, of ten species, in the vessel’s hold, along with aquarium fishing gear, including a small mesh net.

The Terazonos were charged with violating the Hawai‘i Administrative Rules which prohibit the possession of aquarium collecting gear or the possession of aquatic life for aquarium purposes in the West Hawai‘i Regional Fisheries Management Area without a permit.

The Board of Land and Natural Resources heard the case against the Terazonos last May. The couple initially requested a Contested Case Hearing, after the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) had recommended the $76,400 administrative fines. Ultimately the pair dropped their request for a hearing and agreed to the settlement.

Last September, a South Kohala District Court judge sentenced Tyron Terazono to pay $5,500 in fines stemming from the illegal collection and serve 30 days in jail, but the term was suspended due to the pandemic. He had pleaded guilty to 11 criminal counts.