Ocean fishing permits discussed

LIHUE — About 15 to 20 people attended a meeting at the Kauai Veterans Center Saturday morning to get information and discuss the prospect of a statewide permit system for recreational fishing in the ocean.

Hawaii does not currently require a license for recreational marine fishing — the only coastal state not to do so.

Two years ago, a group made up of people from various fishing organizations and interest groups conducted a study on the feasibility of establishing a recreational fishing registry, permit and licensing system in the state, examining the legislative, cultural and environmental aspects of the issue.

In a report published in 2016, the group concluded that “there are no legal or constitutional barriers in Hawaii that would prohibit the implementation” of a new permitting system, and that it is possible to design a system that does not violate the Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights,” protected under state law.

Now members of that group are going island to island — touching all but Niihau in the last couple weeks — holding meetings to share the findings of their study, answer questions and generally encourage public dialogue on the subject.

Members of the group said close to 20 people showed up for the initial presentation Saturday morning, and about half stayed to ask questions and talk until around noon.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at goo.gl/g8tp3m.

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