Hawaii ban is official.

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bReefedBaker

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Despite everything being in the works, never thought this day would come. Until we get enough Captive Bred specimens, goodbye Yellow Tangs, Kole Tangs, Convict Tangs, Lavender Tangs, Achilles, and many others.

I wonder what would be the future of Tangs for Zebrasoma and other fish.

What would be good alternatives for most people in the now indefinite absence of the Yellow Tang?

A Yellow was going to be amongst the new aquarium I have set up. Beginning with some Live Rock (and small talk) at the LFS, we went over my “fish list”. That’s when my LFS told me about Yellow Tangs are hard to come by right now.

That’s sad news knowing they’re a beautiful addition to the home aquarium.
 

jaganshi066

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Blanket banns of any kind are always driven by emotion rather than logic or reason and cause more problems than they fix. Also, to condemn the entire hobby with blanket statements is, well, there’s no kind word for it so I’ll keep that one to myself. I have been researching captive breeding for some time now and we all should be. Eventually all live animal imports will be banned to appease the emotion driven beings. Good bad or indifferent, it’s happening. A diver in a reef is a drop in the bucket compared to a fishing boat and no more of a threat than a shark or large predator fish. The most logical solution to any unsustainable collection that may exist is to assess the impact on each species individually and determine if collection is being done sustainably for that species. If so, leave it be, if not work with the industry (Ie BIOTA and ORA) to get captive breeding programs going for that species to out compete the collectors (in particular the poachers who the laws don’t effect). Any unsustainable collection can then be curbed through making it less profitable to collect from the wild, even by poachers.
Very well said, so you’re saying it’s the Democrats? I’m kidding
 

jaganshi066

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"Laws against collection are misplaced frustrations" - what published reputable data do you have to support this? How about healthy regulation - seeking to maintain diverse species populations at half their carrying capacity / maximum sustainable yield? I've spoken with dozens of marine biologists on this issue - we need to find more intentional balance in how we extract.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe Convict Tang will be off the list, we have HEAPS of them here in Australia.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't believe Convict Tang will be off the list, we have HEAPS of them here in Australia.
Can you throw a couple of yellow tangs in the waters there so they can populate too
 

jaganshi066

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I respectfully disagree. The environmentalist whackos have been trying to shut down the fishery for a long time. This just gave them a little more ammo in court. Banning an entire industry because of a couple law breakers is ridiculous. We don't ban cars because of drunk drivers or people driving without a license. Understand who these people (environmentalists) are. They believe keeping anything in captivity is morally wrong. And it would be wise to fight them at every opportunity because they'll be looking to shut down the entire industry, not just Hawaii.
Are you trying to compare cars to fish? I’m playing cause someone said earlier about comparing food to fish but you’re right. Some environmentalists don’t understand and are power hungry
 

jaganshi066

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I wouldn't be so sure about that. Hawaii is not Indonesia. Its politics are very stable. Currently there are only five elected republican officials in the entire state government. 92% of the state legislature are democrats.
Makes sense in regards to these laws, or they can do what they always do and tax everything
 
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jaganshi066

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Getting denied by three branches of government in a liberal state like Hawaii is not surprising. These people are beholden to environmental groups. The studies I referred to were conducted by the state's own Dept. of Natural resources scientists. Also, the study you cite seems to focus only on one collecting area, not the other collecting sites in Hawaii. Not to be cynical, but I've seen other studies (namely Leopard Shark fishery in California) that cherry pick and massage evidence and methods to get the desired result. I think at this point it would be practical to have outside investigators look at the areas in question. Too many agendas at play here.
Agree with everything
 

jaganshi066

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maybe this is an unpopular opinion. I don’t live in Hawaii and I believe most of us here don’t as well. I don’t really care what the reason is, but Hawaiian have the right not to export any of their resources if they choose to.

we as hobbyist, I don’t think have any right to demand they sell their yellow tang. It’s a free market.
They don’t own the ocean, then do the first people whoever that was who lived there have a say?
 

jaganshi066

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This made me chuckle, not based on anything you wrote but because I found myself about to write an optimistically shaded rebuttal to your points. I’m about the most cynical person I know and have a poor opinion of humans generally. I think I’ll agree that you are probably right .....
That's your argument? People have to eat? We buy lots of things as consumers that we don't need but instead want. You don't need a car, a house, a computer, nice clothes, etc. But we buy those things because they help fulfill our lives in different ways. If you want to live with just basic necessities being met you're welcome to do so. The Amish do that everyday. But I don't see a problem with keeping most marine animals in our hobby. Not only does it educate, but it gives people a real appreciation for things that can't readily be seen in person. I used to take care of an aquarium at a children's hospital. The kids loved that tank and marveled at it daily. They were always full of questions and comments. I think aquariums serve a much needed purpose.
Great comment. I talked with my family about this thought provoking comment.... I would indeed think that person was crazy!

One small difference is that dogs were bred for companionship, fish are taken from one location and our ornamental fish may out compete fish used for food....
Fish are companions to some people too and bring enjoyment and peace just like dogs
 
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Cool tangs

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Seems to be a mixed bag of information in to the actual scientific data in regards to the damaged caused by the aqurium trade. I find it a bit odd that fisheries are not banned, although there is probably a reason related to sizing, species, locations, etc.

From what I can gather is there was a push with "minimal data" from activists to ban capture. Whilst "real data" actually sugest a increase in population over the last 19 years. Im no expert, but I do work in IT and data manipulation and skewing is a thing. You have to take some of these articles, especially the media with a pinch of salt. I just hope eventually once population grows they can open up a controlled enviroment so the reef can be sustained in a healthy way.

Here in Australia our biggest threats to the reefs as far as I am aware is storms caused by natural causes. They have great impacts on damaging our natural reefs. They have set up lots of nurseries to rescue corals in attempts to regain health and place them back into the wild. Not to mention we found a new massive reef in QLD this year never been touched or explored.

I live next door to a coral collector and they have to pay big dollers to keep there license with collecting from the reef. Thats just one reef here in WA.

I love reefs and am all for protecting them, although I may not always be right or perfect. I always try treat my fish and corals as royals and try to give them the best life possible. Some others might say different.

The only downside to this in australia is we have bans on imported captive bread fish and invertibres. Meaning we can only get wild captured livestock. Well here in WA anyway. Youd be lucky to see a yellow tang and they go for almost 1k.

I think it be awesome if australia opened up to captive bread fish from outside its own borders.

Happy reefing
 

Brittanyjo

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They don’t own the ocean, then do the first people whoever that was who lived there have a say?
Unfortunately everyone who lives in Hawaii or who has enjoyed the oceans can't have a direct say so we do the next best thing. We elect people to represent us. This process is incredibly flawed, but those people must represent the people and oceans as best they can. They have a right to stop us from collecting, ornamental fish. I think we can all agree we need more captive breeding. Go “Gen tang” breeder guy (and swimming girlfriend). I wish you luck. I think our hobby and oceans are counting on captive breeding efforts.
 
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jaganshi066

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Unfortunately everyone who lives in Hawaii or who has enjoyed the oceans can have a say so we do the next best thing. We elect people to represent us. This process is incredibly flawed, but those people must represent the people and oceans and have a right to stop us from collecting our ornamental fish. I think we can all agree we need more captive breeding. Go “Gen tang” breeder guy (and swimming girlfriend). I wish you luck. I think our hobby and oceans are counting on captive breeding efforts.
I like the idea of more captive bred fish, and of course they have a say as well as everyone else
 

onegreenray

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I think captive breeding programs are the reason Hawaii is going that route. Yellow tangs are a possibility through Biota and other captive breeders. You can thank the people on the Hawaiian islands that actively break the laws and illegally fish for the current ban and views on the aquarium trade there.


When people are charging $400 for a $40 fish there is always those going to be those that take advantage of the supply lack. Ever hear of Prohibition?
 

vetteguy53081

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Update (courtesy of Coral)

In the ongoing legal battle over Hawaii’s marine aquarium fishery, PIJAC, and the Hawaiian aquarium fishermen that it represents, have submitted their latest Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the West Hawaii aquarium fishery. Framed as a Revised Final Environmental Impact Statement (RFEIS), the 1,585-page pdf document dated May 26, 2021, and published June 8th, is available for download.

The document’s Executive Summary (included below) offers a complete timeline of the legal challenges that the aquarium fishery has faced and outlines the fishery’s latest proposal to reopen.

A Revised Aquarium Fishery

Should their latest proposal be accepted and approved, only the West Hawaii Regional Fishery Management Area would reopen as a result. Just seven collection permits would be available, and only eight species of reef fish could be collected for the aquarium trade. These eight species were selected based on the following criteria:

  • No statistically significant population declines in Open Areas between 1999/2000 and 2017/2018 (WHAP data from DAR 2019a)
  • Recent catch (2017 fiscal year) of at least 100 fish (representing at least 0.03% of the total aquarium catch)
  • Open Area population density of at least 0.5 fish/100m2 (data from DAR 2019a)
A ninth species, Fisher’s Angelfish (Centropyge fisheri) also met these criteria, but was not proposed given its existing administrative status as a species of “special concern”.

In addition to the highly restricted list of approved species, catch quotas for all 8 species are proposed, spreading the total catch out equally among 7 permit holders. This creates a maximum allowable annual catch for the 8 proposed species:

  • Yellow Tang, Zebrasoma flavescens – 28,571 per fisher/200,000 total
  • Potter’s Angelfish, Centropyge potteri – 625/4376
  • Kole Tang, Ctenochaetus strigosus – 4,285/30,000
  • Cheveron Tang, Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis – 450/3152
  • Bird Wrasse, Gomphosus varius – 49/344
  • Naso Tang, Naso lituratus – 838/5872
  • Brown Surgeonfish, Acanthurus nigrofuscus – 114/800
  • Thompson’s Surgeonfish, Acanthurus thompsoni – 288/2016
What’s next?

At this point, the EIS is back in the hands of Hawaii’s Bureau of Land Management for reconsideration. The possible outcomes range from acceptance to outright rejection of the proposal and the continued ban of any aquarium fishing in West Hawaii.

Executive Summary

In October 2017, the circuit court ruled that, based upon the Supreme Court of Hawai’i’s opinion, existing Commercial Aquarium Permits (Aquarium Permits) for use of fine mesh nets to catch aquatic life for aquarium purposes are illegal and invalid. The circuit court ordered the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) not to issue any new Aquarium Permits pending environmental review. The DLNR has not issued new or additional Aquarium Permits under HRS §188-31 since September of 2017.

In January 2021, the court ruled that Commercial Marine Licenses (CMLs) for commercial aquarium collection were invalid as well, and the DLNR began the process of notifying all current permit holders that the CML could no longer be used for commercial aquarium purposes, updating the Specific Terms and Conditions of the CML to reflect that environmental review was needed prior to using a CML for commercial aquarium purposes.

The Applicant initially prepared and submitted an Environmental Assessment on April 8, 2018, evaluating the impacts of issuance of Aquarium Permits on the island of Hawai’i programmatically to any applicant over a 12-month analysis period. The DLNR determined on July 26, 2018, that preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was required, based on five significance criteria outlined in Title II, Chapter 200, Hawai’i Administrative Rules. An evaluation of the significance criteria, including the five identified by the DLNR, is provided in Section 5.6 of this document.

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) evaluating the impacts of issuance of 14 Aquarium Permits for the West Hawai’i Regional Fishery Management Area (WHRFMA) was published on November 23, 2019.

A Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) evaluating the impacts of issuance of 10 Aquarium Permits for the WHRFMA was published on April 23, 2020, and included a change to the proposed action, reducing the number of Commercial Aquarium Permits from 14 to 10. On June 23, 2020 the State of Hawai’i Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) published the FEIS Acceptance Determination of non-acceptance of the FEIS.

A Revised DEIS was prepared to address the 14 concerns raised by the BLNR in their non-acceptance determination. It evaluated the impacts of issuance of seven Aquarium Permits, West Hawai’i Aquarium Permits, and corresponding Commercial Marine Licenses (CMLs) for the WHRFMA, creation of a Revised White List consisting of eight species (prohibiting catch of the other 32 species currently on the White List), and the creation of individual catch quotas for each of the eight species on the proposed Revised White List was published on February 23, 2021.

Since the release of the Revised DEIS, edits were made (Appendix E) in response to public comments (see Appendix C), including editing language in the Revised FEIS to clarify that population trends are used as the measure of sustainability to evaluate impacts to fish populations, and edits to the proposed enforcement and compliance measures in Section 3.7.2.

The Applicant has prepared this Revised FEIS to inform the public of the proposed action (i.e., issuance of 7 Aquarium Permits, corresponding CMLs, creation of a Revised White List, and implementation of individual catch quotas for the 8 species on the Revised White List) and the impacts of the proposed action and its alternatives, and to incorporate information gained through public involvement throughout the entirety of the Hawai’i Environmental Policy Act (HEPA) process beginning in 2018. The Preferred Alternative includes issuance of 7 Aquarium Permits and CMLs for the WHRFMA, reduction of the White List from 40 to 8 species, and implementation of individual catch quotas for all 8 species. No Aquarium Permits or CMLs for commercial aquarium collection would be issued under this action for other areas of the state, including East Hawai’i, and collection in the WHRFMA would be limited to the eight species on the proposed Revised White List. Implementation of the Preferred Alternative would ensure the lawful, responsible, and sustainable commercial collection of eight fish species from the WHRFMA.

Aside from the additional conservation measures included in the Preferred Alternative, the issuance of 7 Aquarium Permits and CMLs under the Preferred Alternative does not include any activities different from, or in addition to, those that have occurred in the past. There would be no construction of permanent or semi-permanent infrastructure, no discharges into coastal, surface or ground waters, no dredging, and no significant use of hazardous materials that could be released into the environment. The DLNR’s issuance of 7 Aquarium Permits and CMLs is not anticipated to result in significant beneficial or adverse impacts to water and air quality, geology and soil resources, aesthetics, noise, vegetation, terrestrial wildlife, avian species, threatened and endangered species, land use, public health and safety, communications, transportation, utilities, or population and demographics from their current condition.

Populations of all eight species that would be collected under the Preferred Alternative have been either stable or increasing under historic annual collection (2000-2017, after establishment of the WHRFMA), and it is therefore anticipated that those population trends would continue under the collection proposed under the Preferred Alternative.

Two studies have concluded that the aquarium fishery has no significant impact on coral or the reef ecosystem. In addition, herbivores collected by the aquarium fishery typically consist of the smaller size classes which are the least effective sizes for cropping algae. One study found there were no increases the abundance of macroalgae where the abundance of herbivores was reduced by aquarium collecting, though turf algae is the primary food of herbivores, and thus healthy herbivore populations are critical for healthy coral populations.

Aquarium industry submits revised EIS: Fishing permits, allowable species to be reduced – West Hawaii Today
 
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Huskymaniac

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Interesting. Why even bother with yellow tangs. They are captive bred. Would much rather see flame wrasses or achilles tangs on the list. Kind of disappointing. They are better off staying closed.
 

Cool tangs

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Interesting. Why even bother with yellow tangs. They are captive bred. Would much rather see flame wrasses or achilles tangs on the list. Kind of disappointing. They are better off staying closed.
Whilst i agree captive breed is great, in some countries imports of captive breed fish and invertebrates are illegal.
 

Tamberav

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Well they chose the fish based on criteria. Apparently Achilles and most fish do not fit it I guess! Yellows are a common fish so looks like they can be collected in significantly higher numbers then the other six.

Just because the list doesn’t have what you want doesn’t mean someone else won’t be happy to have a chance at what may come back. There is no way to get a potters angel right now.

Also captive bred isn’t for sale in many countries.

Interesting. Why even bother with yellow tangs. They are captive bred. Would much rather see flame wrasses or achilles tangs on the list. Kind of disappointing. They are better off staying closed.
 

Montiman

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Interesting. Why even bother with yellow tangs. They are captive bred. Would much rather see flame wrasses or achilles tangs on the list. Kind of disappointing. They are better off staying closed.
The real question is why breed Yellow tangs? We have plenty in the wild. I have always wondered why Gem Tangs, Black Tangs, or Achilles tangs aren't captive bred. It can't be more labor than yellows and I bet people would be more willing to pay a captive breeding price premium for something that is already expensive.
 
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