Shell collecting still legal, for now

LIHU‘E — A bill apparently introduced to deter the taking of one of Hawai‘i’s most precious resources, beach sand, could potentially outlaw even shell collecting.

House Bill 2396 proposed amending the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes by deleting the “one-gallon per person per day” exception to a prohibition against removal of sand and other beach or marine deposits.

The House Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committee on Monday deferred the bill, essentially killing it for the remainder of this session.

But a Senate version of the bill is still alive.

The Senate Water, Land and Housing Committee on Thursday recommended that the bill pass with amendments.

Rep. Derek Kawakami, D-14th District, a member of the House committee, said most people are concerned about large amounts of sand being removed from beaches.

He said he wasn’t sure of HB 2396’s intent or whether it would have outlawed shell collecting.

“That’s the first thing I thought when I saw the bill, my memories of me down at the beach collecting shells with my mom,” Kawakami said. “Essentially, I think it may have made that type of activity illegal.”

The Senate bill also proposes to delete the “one-gallon per person per day” exception. Just like the House version, the Senate bill would allow removal of materials as long as they were inadvertently taken, including materials carried away on the body, clothes, toys, recreational equipment and bags.

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