Lobster and Kona Crab Season Ends May 1st

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) reminds the public that the season for taking ula and ula papapa (spiny and slipper lobsters) and Kona crabs in state waters will be closed starting on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. The closed season extends through the end of August.

Hawaii Administrative Rules prohibit the taking, killing, sale or offering for sale, or possession of any ula, also known as spiny lobster (Panulirus penicillatus, P. marginatus) and ula papapa or slipper lobster (Scyllarides squammosus, S. haanii) from state waters during the closed season.

It is also illegal to take, possess, or sell Kona crab during May through August.

“These rules are in place to protect lobsters and Kona crabs during the summer months, which are the peak of their reproductive season, and to help ensure their populations will continue to be sustainable,” said William J. Aila, Jr. DLNR chairperson. However, any commercial marine dealer may sell, or any hotel, restaurant, or other public eating house may serve spiny or slipper lobster lawfully caught during the open season by first procuring a license to do so pursuant to section 13-74-41, Hawaii Administrative Rules.

During the open season, catching, taking or possessing of female spiny and slipper lobsters and female Kona crab is prohibited as a result of the passage of Act 77 by the 2006 State Legislature.

Also during the open season, any spiny or slipper lobster, or Kona crab, caught with eggs must immediately be returned to the waters from which it was taken. Taking or killing of females is prohibited year round.

The Hawai‘i Fishing Regulations booklet, available at all Division of Aquatic Resources offices and most fishing supply stores, shows how to determine the sex of spiny lobsters and Kona crabs. Or go online to http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/regulated_fish_invert.html

For more information on regulations concerning these and other marine invertebrates, including  minimum sizes, go to http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar/regulated_fish_mia.html or call the Division of Aquatic Resources.

To report any violation of these or other fishing regulations call the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR.

Department of Land and Natural Resources Takes Civil Enforcement Action Against Kahala Oceanfront Property Owners

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has taken civil enforcement action this month against 9 Kahala oceanfront property owners whose encroaching vegetation is blocking the public beach transit corridor. These cases are still pending landowner response to comply.

DLNR’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands and its Administrative Proceedings Office also jointly issued 9 Civil Resource Violation Notices between September to November targeting beach encroachment violations at sites scattered from the Diamond Head area to Hawai’i Kai on the island of O’ahu.

“Maintaining public access along the shoreline is important and fortunately, a law is in place to ensure the beaches are kept free of encroaching vegetation from coastal properties that block the public right of way,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

“Our goal is to preserve the State’s beach resources for the promotion of economic and recreational activities by Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors alike,” Aila said.

“We are pleased that so far property owners have responded positively, and have satisfactorily removed or trimmed back encroaching vegetation so that people can continue to use public beach areas,” he said.

Act 160 passed by the 2009 Legislature amended Chapter 115, HRS to reaffirm public policy of extending public use and ownership of Hawai‘i’s shoreline to ensure the public’s lateral access along the shoreline.

Under this statute, DLNR is authorized to maintain public access within beach transit corridors under Chapters 115 and 183C, HRS by requiring private property owners to ensure that beach transit corridors abutting their lands shall be kept passable and free from human–induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation that interferes or encroaches in the beach transit corridors.

After notification, property owners are given 21 days to come into compliance or face criminal fines (HRS Sec. 115-9) of $1,000 after 21 days, and $2,000 for repeated violations. Civil fines may also be levied under Sec. 183C-7, HRS up to $15,000 plus administrative and enforcement costs as well as any mitigation and restoration costs that might be incurred by the department.

Continued compliance with the law means keeping beach corridors passable and free of encroaching vegetation DLNR stresses that the community’s support and voluntary compliance are essential in fulfilling its mission in protecting the State’s coastal land and shoreline.