The Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT) and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) have signed Hawaii’s first intra-industry Memorandum of Agreement dedicated to fishing issues in Hawaii.
HFACT strives for the responsible use of Hawaii’s marine life, using science-based methods of fishery management for future generations of fishers. HFACT represents and promotes the interests of fishers in Hawaii through education of fishers and the public, information dissemination, lawmaker advocacy, and improved economic efficiency.
PIJAC represents the responsible pet trade throughout the United States through legislative advocacy, public and industry education, and regulatory consulting. PIJAC’s members include many of Hawaii’s aquarium fishing hobbyists and professionals. PIJAC is a litigant in recent court cases affecting the fisher trade, and is working with Hawaii’s fishers and state regulators on new research about the environmental sustainability of ornamental fishing.
Under the agreement, signed on January 25, HFACT will lead efforts to protect the aquarium fishing industry in Hawaii, to preserve future opportunities for fishing and to provide a unified voice on fishing issues in the state, in line with best practices and environmental research. PIJAC is contributing its national and international expertise in legislative and environmental issues, as well as the numbers and expertise of its Hawaii members.
“HFACT has a long history of representing fishing interests in Hawaii, as well as educating the public and elected officials on the importance of fishing to our local communities,” HFACT President Phil Fernandez said. “The aquarium fish industry is of significant educational and economic importance to Hawaii and is environmentally safe. This memorandum will give fishers a more influential voice to protect all who engage in the practice, as well as the public which benefits from ornamental fishing, from false attacks by environmental organizations and animal rights groups.”
“PIJAC and its aquarium fishing members are proud to partner with HFACT to defend fishing opportunities in Hawaii,” said Robert Likins, PIJAC’s vice president for Governmental Affairs. “The Aquarium Fish industry is an important industry in Hawaii for what it brings to locals through jobs, the state through tourism and the world through ornamental fish. PIJAC looks forward to working with HFACT to help all who benefit from ornamental fishing work with state lawmakers and regulators to ensure the most scientifically credible way forward is found for ornamental fishing and environmental health.”
According to Fernandez and Likins, “The state has a responsibility to ensure its natural resources are managed in a scientifically credible way for the benefit of all its citizens. We look forward to being partners in this important work.”