In one of his latest articles on the MASNA Blog covering the aquarium trade’s legal hurdles in Hawaii, Ret Talbot tells the aquarium community that the Kauai County Council has voted unanimously to get a draft resolution into next year’s legislative package that would place an outright ban on the collection of wildlife to be sold in the aquarium industry. As with the previous legislation from the Hawaii County Council, this proposed ban will not have an immediate impact on aquarium collection and isn’t a state law. However, it is still something to be taken seriously, as both of these council resolutions could easily grow into something with a far greater impact.
The major persisting problem seen between this council vote and the previous one is the misuse of real information and the overabundance of misinformation. Couple this with the fact that decision makers (e.g. council members) are ignoring the data that’s right in front of them, and you’ve got people making decisions based on emotions and ethics instead of facts. According to Dr. William Walsh, a state aquatic biologist with the Division of Aquatic Resources from the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, yellow tang populations are actually on the rise with the help of well managed fisheries. But those arguing against the aquarium industry tell the story otherwise, often taking data out of context and outright ignoring the fact that fish numbers are increasing.
These two council votes, while not immediately damaging to the industry, do undermine the intense efforts of biologists, activists, and everyone else participating in the management of the Hawaiian fishery. The misuse and misrepresentation of available data only drives a wedge between pro- and anti-aquarium activists.
We encourage all of you to get informed and get involved in these current issues. For more information, head on over to the MASNA Blog and read more about the council votes.