Description: Lawsuit alleging that licenses for commercial aquarium fishing could not be granted without environmental review.
Kaupiko v. Department of Land & Natural Resources
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 11/27/2020 Minute Order Download Plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment granted. Hawaii Court Ruled that Commercial Aquarium Fishing Required Environmental Review. A Hawaii court held that the Hawai‘i Environmental Policy Act requires environmental review for commercial taking of aquarium fish and that Department of Land and Natural Resources issuance and renewal of licenses for commercial aquarium collection without environmental review was invalid and illegal. The court rejected DLNR’s argument that a 2017 Hawaii Supreme Court decision requiring environmental review for aquarium fishing only applied to fishing with fine-meshed nets. The court’s decision indicated that “[a]s far as the court is aware, no environmental review for the commercial taking of aquarium fish has been accepted,” noting that a proposed environmental impact statement had been rejected in May 2020 for a number of reasons, including inadequate discussion of the “extreme threat” climate change poses to reefs.