HONOLULU — The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups are working with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to encourage people to report illegal collection of marine life for the aquarium trade, according to a release from the center sent out Wednesday.
Citizens can report suspected poaching through a new hotline and collect rewards of up to $5,000 following successful prosecutions.
Poachers have continued to collect Hawaii reef fish and other wildlife despite last year’s ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court suspending state-issued aquarium permits until completion of a full environmental impact review, the release read.
“We must all work together to ensure Hawaii’s rich marine life is protected from illegal poaching,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Hawaii director. “Court orders and regulatory rulings suspending aquarium collecting are a good start, but those laws are meaningless without proper enforcement. We can all help ensure our beautiful reef fish don’t get illegally taken by the aquarium trade.”
Other groups supporting the reward and reporting program include For the Fishes, West Hawaii Humane Society and Moana Ohana, the release stated.
People who see illegal marine collection can call or text (808) NO-POACH or call the department at (808) 643-3567. They can also download the DLNRTip application for Android and Apple devices. Images and information on illegal aquarium trade activities can be found at www.ForTheFishes.org/reward.