HONOLULU — Environmental Court Judge Linda Luke imposed a fine of $250 upon a defendant who was apprehended using an illegal throw net to catch oama. Additionally, the defendant’s net was ordered for destruction as contraband fishing gear.
The case stems from October 2015, when an off-duty Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) officer observed the defendant, Keith Sonoda, catching oama with an illegal throw net at Maunalua Bay Beach Park.
DLNR regulates the use of throw nets through administrative rules adopted by the Department. Under current laws, it is illegal for anyone to possess, use or offer for sale any throw net with a mesh of less than two inches stretched. DLNR regulates the size of stretched mesh nets in order to ensure that smaller fish have a chance to escape when throw nets are deployed.
Violations of rules regulating gill net use are petty misdemeanors punishable through the imposition of fines or imprisonment. All net violations require a mandatory court appearance and the minimum fine for a first offense is $250.
“This type of case is a high priority for DOCARE,” said Jason Redulla, acting DOCARE enforcement chief. “In late summer, oama congregate in large schools along Hawaii’s shorelines, where they are easily caught using hook and line. This schooling trait makes them very susceptible to take by illegal throw net”