New Sea Cucumber Rules Signed Into Law By Hawaii Governor – Bans All Large-Scale Commercial Harvesting

Following on the heels of a 120-day emergency rule, which had temporarily banned all harvesting of sea cucumbers in Hawaii, today Governor David Ige signed a measure which severely limits collection of sea cucumbers.  Governor Ige stated, “The DLNR worked quickly to stop the mass harvesting of sea cucumbers, and then to develop and propose permanent rules.  This action is expected to protect and sustain critically important sea cucumber populations in our near-shore waters.”

Sea Cucumber

The permanent rule bans any large-scale commercial harvesting of sea cucumbers.  It will take effect on January 10, 2016.  Harvesting spiked earlier this year when collectors virtually cleared some near-shore waters on Maui and Oahu of the creatures which are considered the “vacuum cleaners of the ocean.”

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Under the law, now in effect, licensed aquarium collectors are allowed to harvest two species of sea cucumbers from Oahu waters only, with a 20-per-day maximum and an annual take of no more than 3600 for the entire commercial fishery.  These numbers are based on data collected over many years and is expected to be sustainable.”  Case added, “The rules allow a small level of take for personal, non-commercial use.  We will continue to monitor the sea cucumber population over the next few years to determine whether we’ve correctly set the harvest at sustainable levels, and if not whether we need to make adjustments in the future.”

Sea cucumber populations across the Pacific and elsewhere have been decimated by large-scale commercial harvesting. These rules were approved by the State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) on Dec. 11, 2015, after a series of statewide hearings. Prior to the implementation of the 120-day emergency rule, Hawaii did not have any regulations regarding sea cucumber harvesting.  This year was the first time that mass harvesting happened in Hawaiian waters and once the state became aware of the issue, it acted swiftly to investigate and to get permanent rules into place.

Dr. Bruce Anderson, the Administrator of the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) commented, “I’m very proud of the work DAR and the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) did to address this issue so quickly. Without this prompt action the short-lived, mass harvest of sea cucumbers could have been an ecological disaster for the sea cucumber and its role in the health of Hawaii’s coral reefs.

Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases on the Big Island of Hawaii Rises to 202

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases rose by 7 more case since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 202.

Mosquito BiteAs of January 1, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 7 new cases of dengue fever.  Currently, as many as 13 of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.

Potentially infectious individuals
13 Illness onset  12/22/15 to 12/27/15
Cases no longer infectious
189 Illness onset 9/11/15 to 12/21/15
Past and present confirmed cases (Cumulative TOTAL)
202

Of the confirmed cases, 182 are Hawaii Island residents and 20 are visitors.
164 cases have been adults; 38 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/27/15.

As of today, a total of 765 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 30, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE. (Updated December 2, 2015)

CDC Interim Assessment of the Response by the Hawaii State Department of Health to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii

HDOH continues to routinely monitor for cases of imported dengue infection on ALL islands and will continue to have Vector Control perform mosquito site assessments and abatement as needed. Since the beginning of our current investigation on Hawaii island, two imported dengue fever cases have been confirmed (one on Oahu and one on Hawaii), and one imported chikungunya case (on Hawaii) has been confirmed. These cases are not associated with the Hawaii island investigation.

Dengue Fever and Mosquitoes — Information and Resources

Dengue Fever Brochures

Call Aloha United Way 2-1-1 for general information about dengue fever and the current Big Island dengue investigation.  (Out of state callers may call 877-275-6569, toll free)

To report a suspect case, contact:

  • On the Big Island: 808-974-6001 (East Hawaii) or 808-322-488 (West Hawaii)
  • On other islands: DOH Disease Outbreak Control Division at 808-586-4586.

To report mosquito concerns, contact:

  • On the Big Island: 808-974-6001 (East Hawaii) or 808-322-4880 (West Hawaii)
  • On Oahu: 808-586-8021, on Maui: 808-873-3560, on Kauai: 808-241-3306

If you are ill and are worried that you might have dengue fever, contact your healthcare provider.

CLINICIANS: for updates go to http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/updates-and-resources-for-clinicians/

*Updates to case counts, when available, will be posted Monday-Friday by 1:00 p.m. HST

**Updates to the map, when available, will be posted Wednesday by 1:00 p.m. HST