Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System in Hawaii

Following six meetings earlier this year, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has received a report from a group of experts and organizations with interest in establishing non-commercial fishing licenses in Hawaii’i.

Click to read the study

Click to read the study

The independent group studied the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system.  Participants in the meetings, held between May and November, included the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, Conservation International, fisheries resources managers, experts, and representatives from different fishing organizations and interest groups.

The study group interviewed fisheries managers from other coastal states, conducted a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consulted with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

According to DAR Administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson, “This group specifically focused on the ability of a potential system to meet three primary fishery objectives.”  This includes providing additional and more robust data to support fisheries management; to foster more dialogue between fishers and managers; and to create a continuous source of independent funding to support effective fisheries management.  In expressing the DLNR’s appreciation to the members of the study group, Anderson wrote, “It is indeed a thorough and well-researched document.  We are impressed with the way all the members worked together throughout the project.

While Study Group members did not hesitate to express divergent views, their comments were always intended to be constructive. I believe the final report reflects this spirit of cooperation and collaboration as well as the dedication and hard work of all members.  Every member certainly has a great passion and appreciation of the value of our marine resources.”

Anderson concluded, “We look forward to getting comments from a broad range of stakeholders before making such a decision on what option is preferred. Undoubtedly, this report will generate considerable discussion and serve as a valuable reference for all those interested in this issue.”


The Division of Aquatic Resources has received the Final Report from the Study Group for the Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System for Hawai‘i.  The Study Group was jointly convened by Conservation International Hawai‘i and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and consisted of fisheries resource managers, experts, and representatives from various fishing organizations and interest groups.  The Study Group examined the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system and specifically focused on the ability of such as system to meet three primary fishery management objectives: (1) provide additional and more robust data to support fisheries management, (2) foster more two-way dialogue between fishers and managers, and (3) create sources of independent, continuous funding to support effective fisheries management and enforcement.  The process included interviews with fisheries managers from other coastal states, a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consultation with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

The final report and supporting appendices can be downloaded below. All are pdf files under 1 MB except where noted.

Final Report (6.2 MB)
Executive Summary (3.6 MB)
Appendix A – Charter of Commitments (1.4 MB)
Appendix B – Coastal States & Territories Comparison Matrix
Appendix C – List of Listening Sessions Between Study Group Meetings
Appendix D – Comparison of Non-commercial Marine Fishing Regulation Systems in States Similar to Hawaii
Appendix E – Overview of Hawaii Legal Considerations for Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix F – Table of Provisions on the Right to Fish from Other States
Appendix G – Hawaii’s Traditional and Customary Rights Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing (19.9 MB)
Appendix H – Financial Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix I – Personal Statements from Study Group Members

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