Four Aquatic Protection Laws Signed by Gov. Ige
Kewalo Basin, O‘ahu – On this 30th anniversary of the international World Oceans Day, Governor David Ige signed four measures into law related to protection of aquatic resources.
In remarks at the Kupu Hoʻokupu Center at Kewalo Basin, the governor said the new laws reflect the legislature’s earnest and continuing efforts to provide further ocean protections across the state.
The bills include:
authorization of a pilot carrying capacity study for the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District on O‘ahu’s North Shore;
establishment of tiered administrative fines to strengthen penalties for aquatic resource violations;
funding for fish aggregation devices; and
authorization for the use of in-lieu fee mitigation to restore damaged aquatic habitats or resources.
“The Holomua Marine 30 X 30 Initiative, which we launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016, calls for the effective management of Hawaii’s nearshore waters with 30% established as marine management areas by the year 2030. These four new laws, collectively, along with previous measures, certainly bring us much closer to realizing that goal over the next eight years,” Governor Ige said.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case applauded the Ige Administration and State lawmakers for proactively addressing the threats facing the ocean during this time of global climate change.
“We all know how critical our nearshore ocean waters are to life in Hawai‘i. While there’s still much work to accomplish, and there is certainly urgency due to global warming, these laws will help Hawai‘i get closer to its overall goal of effectively managing as much of our ocean waters and its resources as possible in the face of unprecedented natural and human-generated threats,” Case said.
Key purposes of each bill signed today:
HB 1653 (Act 035) – Strengthens aquatic resource penalties to increase compliance, to ensure just, reasonable, and effective punishment for violations. Establishes a flexible, tiered administrative fine system.
SB 2767 (Act 034) – Provides funds to DLNR to support the deployment, replacement, and maintenance of fish aggregation devices (FADs). FADS are an important resource for fishers to target productive and sustainable fisheries like mahi mahi and ono. Missing FADs can result in less fish for consumption and increased operational costs for fishers. On average, about 15 FADs go missing each year.
SB 3330 (Act 031) – Establishes a three-year pilot program to assess the carrying capacity of certain areas within the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD), in light of threats to marine life from people. Directs monitoring, documentation, and assessment of effectiveness of mandatory and voluntary closures of high traffic areas in the MLCD.
SB 204 (Act 032) – Gives DLNR the legal authority to use in-lieu fee mitigation to restore, create, enhance, and preserve aquatic habitats or resources as compensatory mitigation to offset unavoidable adverse impacts from incidents like ship groundings.
Utilizing Kupu’s Kewalo Basin facility as the backdrop for today’s bill signing, Gov. Ige also signed into law SB2768 (Act 033), which directs DLNR to administer or enter into an agreement for the administration of a green jobs youth corps to provide temporary work and training opportunities in the fields of natural resource management, agriculture, or other sustainability‑related professions to young adults ages twenty-six and younger.
Kupu provides many of the interns who work in various DLNR divisions, including the Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR). DAR Administrator Brian Neilson noted that Kupu workers have been engaged in the division’s alien invasive species, urchin hatchery, and coral nursery teams and several have advanced into civil service positions following their internship.
“This is a great day for the furtherance of ocean protections here in Hawai‘i,” commented DAR Administrator Brian Neilson. “To now have the opportunity to expose more young people to the vital nature of protecting our lands and waters, is a real win on this World Oceans Day, and further cements Hawai‘i’s reputation as a leader in conservation, mauka to makai.”