Ruling: Aquarium collectors don’t need state assessment

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii— Aquarium collectors will not have to have an environmental assessment in order to receive state-issued permits for their fish.

West Hawaii Today reports that the Intermediate Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled that commercial fish collectors for the aquarium trade don’t have a specific project to which an environmental assessment could be applied, unlike land-based construction.

About 50 Hawaii residents currently hold permits to maintain commercial aquariums. All permit holders submit catch reports to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The 2012 lawsuit the ruling was based on was filed by Rene Umberger, Mike Nakachi, Kaimi Kaupiko, Willie Kaupiko, the Conservation Council for Hawaii, the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity. The appeals case was handled by Earthjustice.

Earthjustice says they will likely appeal the ruling further.

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