Hawaii Fishermen in Uproar About Cascade of Environmental Protections

Steven Alan via Flickr

UPDATED: 2/11/2013 5:20 p.m.

Hawaii fishermen say they are being pushed to the limit by a barrage of proposed federal and state laws that threaten their livelihood.

“It stresses me out. It stresses a lot of fishermen out, because how many other people have to fight to maintain their way of life?” said Makani Christensen, a commercial fisherman on Oahu who catches goatfish with nets and fly-fishes.

Christensen was one of a few dozen fishermen who crowded a hearing last Thursday in Honolulu to testify against a proposal by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to list three coral species in Hawaii as threatened.

The listings are just one of several NOAA proposals that have fishermen worried. The federal agency may also expand protections for the endangered monk seal around the main Hawaiian islands and take more aggressive actions to help the species recover. NOAA also released rules earlier this month that will enforce a commercial fishing ban in the Pacific marine national monuments.

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