State Land Board Approves Changes to Lay Net Rules

HONOLULU – Fishers will now have to obtain a permit from the DLNR to use lay nets in State waters, effective ten days after the governor signs off. This rule change, approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) today, eliminates the requirement that lay net fishers register each lay net with the department. For Hawai‘i residents, active-duty military personnel and their family members, annual lay net permits will be issued free of charge. Nonresidents will be charged a $25 fee.

In its initial rule amendments, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR), proposed a new annual lay net permit requirement and fee of $25 for the use of lay nets. DAR reports testimony received at both in-person and virtual meetings was “overwhelmingly opposed” to the permit fee. Permits will allow DAR to track the number of lay net fishers on a yearly basis. It will also promote compliance with lay net regulations and help DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) crack down on the illegal use of lay nets.

Among other amendments approved by the BLNR today:

Added new definitions for freshwater stream, multi-panel lay net, resident, and
throw net.

Clarified it is unlawful to leave a gill net unattended for any amount of time

Clarified authorized penalties for violations

Adopted civil asset forfeiture as an enforcement tool

The rules package also amended the definitions of certain species, including akule, ‘iao, ōpelu, and pua, to reflect current scientific nomenclature and to make them consistent with other HAR chapters.