GILL NET LAWS
On a Saturday several weeks ago I was snorkeling along the reef in Waimanalo Bay and came across a very long gill net. A section of the net had a second net hanging which was of a smaller mesh. This is illegal. Two good sized fish were caught, but they were dead and decaying--not edible--indicating that no one had checked the net in a timely manner.
The next week I spoke with a DLNR official who said they had just pulled in a net of more than 1,000 feet in length from our Waimanalo waters.
The reason we have laws regarding fishing is to protect our valuable and renewable resource. If too many fish are caught, not enough eggs are produced to provide for the next generation, which severely reduces the population--and we're all the poorer for it. Many ocean enthusiasts are concerned that people are not being responsible when they lay nets. Sometimes the eyes of the gill nets are too small, oftentimes the nets aren't checked, or are left too long. We need the community's continued support in reporting any unlawful gill net practices to the DLNR at 587-0077. This number is monitored 24 hours a day. Please leave a message, if you get the answering machine, explain where the net can be found.
In the third volume of Hawaii Revised Statutes, on page 520 the following laws apply to gill nets:
HRS 188-29.1 to 188-30.2:
A gill net is defined by law as "a curtainlike net suspended in the water with mesh openings large enough" for the fish's head to pass through. The mesh openings must be at least "two inches stretched measure." And, a person's net must be visually inspected every two hours and any undersized, illegal or unwanted catch released; a net must not be left in the water for more than four hours in any twenty-four hour period.
Representative Eve Anderson
586-8520 Room 319