Honolulu – Seven Honolulu men face multiple charges after officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) received a call reporting illegal fishing in the Waikīkī Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD) and the adjoining Waikīkī Fisheries Management Area (FMA).
Three officers from Division One of the O‘ahu DOCARE Branch had been patrolling Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline after receiving complaints about a large group of divers taking both regulated and undersized fish from the waters there. While conducting surveillance an officer got the call about similar activities happening in the MLCD.
They rerouted to Waikīkī and from Kapiolani Beach, officers observed ten lights illuminating the water. They watched as two men came to shore. When they contacted one of them, the partner fled back into the water. He notified the entire group and all the dive lights went out. The DOCARE officers then tracked the men to the Diamond Head side of the Waikīkī Natatorium.
Eventually one man got out of the water and signaled the others they were in the clear. Officers then observed all the men get out of the water with spears, dive gear and fish. All seven men now face multiple charges including Prohibited Activities in an MLCD and FMA, having no diver flag, and possession of undersized fish.
DOCARE officers inventoried approximately 130 fish, including Palani, Kala, U‘hu, He‘e, Ulua, and sea cucumbers. All the aquatic life was dead and was returned to the ocean.
A month ago, on August 15, eight spear fishermen were also picked up in the MLCD and FMA for the very same violations. They had about 100 fish in their possession. In both cases, the suspects will have to appear in court and could face fines and/or jail time.
DLNR Chief Jason Redulla said, “We are deeply appreciative of the people who are helping us watch out for our precious aquatic resources and reporting potential violations to DOCARE. Taking fish from any State MLCD is akin to stealing a baby from a nursery and we take these violations seriously and will pursue violators aggressively.”
Call 643-DLNR or use the free DLNRTip app to report violations.