HONOLULU -- The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will hold statewide public hearings, July 18 through 20, 2006, on proposed rule amendments for use of lay gillnets in Hawaiian waters.
"Our focus is protection of our near shore resources, the proposed rules do just that," said Peter Young, DLNR Chairperson. "These lay gillnet restrictions are a major, necessary step forward in making sure we have fish for the future."
DLNR has been moving this process forward progressively and involving communities statewide in discussions of needed changes to existing laws. The public is invited to attend the public hearings to provide testimony that will assist DLNR in crafting these regulations.
All interested persons are urged to attend the public hearing to present relevant information and individual opinion for the DLNR to consider. Persons unable to attend or wishing to provide additional comments may mail written testimony by August 8 to DLNR, Division of Aquatic Resources, 1151 Punchbowl St. Room 330, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. Or send email (with subject Laynet rules) to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Public hearings are planned as follows: (*NOTE: Honolulu meeting location has changed)
6 p.m.., Tuesday, July 18, 2006:
-Hilo High School Cafeteria, 556 Wai‘anuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawai‘i
-Lihikai School Cafeteria, 335 S. Papa Avenue, Kahului, Maui
-Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria, 45-259 Waikalua Road, Kane‘ohe, O‘ahu
-*NEW LOCATION -- Kalani High School Cafeteria, 4680 Kalanianaole Hwy., Honolulu, O‘ahu
-Leihoku Elementary School Cafeteria, 86-285 Leihoku Street, Wai‘anae, O‘ahu
6 p.m.., Wednesday, July 19, 2006:
-Kulana ‘Oiwi, Kaunakakai, Moloka‘i
6 p.m.. Thursday, July 20, 2006:
-Big Game Fishing Club, Kealakehe Parkway, Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i
-Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria, 4319 Hardy Street, Lihu‘e, Kaua‘i
-Lana‘i Public and School Library, Lana‘i City, Lana‘i
The Board of Land and Natural Resources voted unanimously at its January 2006 meeting to hold public hearings on the proposed amendments to existing lay gillnet rules in order to better protect Hawaii's fishery resources.
"Lay" nets, also referred to as "set" nets or "moemoe"- nets are used passively because a panel of net is set in one location and usually not actively tended. Fish are caught as they run into it and become entangled in the net. The nets are commonly made of monofilament nylon which has been manufactured into netting with floats on one length and weights on the other length.
DLNR has been working on improving management of lay gillnets for some time, illustrated by the following chronology:
-One catalyst for action was the appearance, in 1997, of a new type of very long gillnet -- sometimes over one mile in length - along the coast of Wai‘anae. This monofilament net was set on the bottom in depths 200 feet or greater via a hydraulically operated drum on the bow of a boat.
-Use of this type of net raised the concerns of long-time Wai‘anae commercial fishermen that it was damaging the reef habitat of fish. This prompted the formation of a Gillnet Task Force composed of various fishermen from Kaua‘i, Wai‘anae, Moloka‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i, with support from DLNR-Aquatic Resources staff.
-At first, the Gillnet Task Force members were most concerned with deep-set gillnets, but they later broadened their discussion to include inshore gillnets (lay gillnets). In 1999, the task force presented a list of recommendations on managing gillnets to the department.
-At that point in time it was noted that an outright ban on lay gillnets was not part of the Gillnet Task Force recommendations and was not explicitly discussed as an alternative.
-DLNR then authorized a second set of meetings, held in late 2003 and early 2004, and additional public comment was gathered addressing the proposal for a partial or outright ban on lay gillnet fishing. A survey was distributed and many residents also sent statements on the matter.
-Results of the survey taken at the public meetings and via a written survey are posted on-line on the DLNR web site: http://www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/library/laynet_mgmt.htm.
-Recently, lay gillnet fishing regulations based on recommendations from the Gillnet Task Force and considerable public input were adopted for West Hawaii on the Big Island. The regulations included open and banned areas for lay gillnets as well as fishing protocols when using lay gillnets.
-The proposed statewide lay gillnet rules are also modeled after the recently adopted West Hawaii regulations.
DLNR's Proposed Lay Gillnet Gear Restrictions:
For waters where lay nets are to be permitted, additional restrictions are proposed:
Registration and Identification:
- Nets must be registered with the Department
- Net owners must report any registered lay net that is lost, stolen, given away or
otherwise no longer the property of said owner
- Nets must have four identification tags, one at each end of the float and lead lines
- Nets must have at least two surface buoys (with registration numbers) placed at
either end of the float line.
- The Department may seize any lay net found in the water that is not registered or
without identification or is being fished improperly.
- Maximum net Length: 125 feet
- Maximum net height: 7 feet (stretched)
- Minimum mesh: 2-3/4” (stretched); (3” for Kailua Bay FMA, on the Big Island)
- Multi-panel nets are prohibited.
- Fishers may fish with (set) only one net at a time
- Minimum distance between any lay nets set in the same general area: 250 feet
- Nets may not be used at depths deeper than 25 feet; unless the fisher has a
Commercial Marine License, then 80 feet
- Nets may not be used (set) for more than 4 hours at any one time
- Nets must be inspected after two hours of being set.
- Nets may not be used for at least 24 hours after any use
- Fishers may not fish again with a net for at least 24-hours after having fished
with any net.
- Fishers may not leave a lay net unattended for longer than 30 minutes
- No lay net fishing permitted in freshwater streams or stream mouths
- No lay net fishing between from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before
Proposed Area Restrictions:
- Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kauai and Ni‘ihau will not have banned areas for lay net use;
however, the proposed additional restrictions will apply.
Proposed waters where lay net use would be banned:
- Hawai‘i - existing banned areas in West Hawai‘i
- Maui - around the entire island
- Portlock Point to Keahi Point (west of Pearl Harbor channel)
- Kailua Bay (Mokapu Peninsula to Wailea Point
(northern boundary for
- Kane‘ohe Bay (a portion of the Bay; landward boundaries would be the main ship/sampan channels and landward of ‘Ahu o Laka)
Evaluation for Effectiveness:
The proposed ban and additional restrictions on lay net use will be evaluated for its effectiveness in conserving fishery resources.
Key events in development of proposed lay gillnet amendments
1977 - Maximum soak time: 12 hours, previously no limit; minimum mesh size: 2”
1992 - Report on lay net management in response to HCR 401 HD1 recommends mesh size increase and soak time reduction
1993 - Maximum soak time reduced to 4 hours with required inspection at 2 hour
1994 - Minimum mesh size increased to 2 ¾”; to take effect 12/31/96
1998-99 - Gill Net Task Force meets and recommends lay net regulations
2000-02 - Draft regulations developed from recommendations and reviewed internally
2002 - Statewide public meetings on proposed lay net management regulations
2003 - Statewide lay net ban proposed by DLNR, public meetings approved
2003-2004 - State wide public meetings on proposed ban of lay nets
2005 - Evaluation of public comments (from 2003-2004 public meetings) and from mail-in survey
# # #
For more information, media contact:
DLNR Public Information Specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320