Abandoned net filled with rotting fish violated multiple laws

Photo: Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

Enson Park has been diving off Kahana Bay for years, but on April 17, he encountered something he’d never seen before.

“About 30 or 40 yards inside the bay, after I hit the reef line, I ran into a large net that was kind of tangled on the reef,” he said. “It had some fish in it. Some were struggling, some were dead already.”

Park said the net kept going on forever. “I called (the state Dept. of Land and Natural Resources) and they found a very large net full of very dead marine life.”

“After being pulled from the water by enforcement officers, it was in excess of 1,700 feet. The current rule says 125 feet,” said DLNR director William Aila.

That’s nearly 600 yards or six football fields strung together with more than 200 fish and marine life trapped.

“Kalas, a lot of wekes, different sizes, different shapes, kumus, moanas, papios, oios, crabs, lobsters,” Park said.

“It should be disgusting to everyone because the fish in that net were rotting,” Aila said.

Aila says besides the excess length, there were 10 violations, including the amount of time a net is allowed in the ocean, which is four hours, and it must be checked every 30 minutes.

Aila says this net was left unattended for at least two weeks. The penalty for each infraction is a maximum of $250.

“These fines are probably 30 years old and I think next year, we’ll take a look at increasing the severity,” Aila said.

Although the net was not labeled and tracking down this irresponsible person may be a challenge, the DLNR is hoping someone out there knows something.

The 1,700-plus feet of net was destroyed. It was worth an estimated $3,000.

“It shows that some of us just don’t care and it’s really upsetting, really, really upsetting,” Park said.

“This individual actually did not display or demonstrate any kuleana at all. The opposite. They provided an example for how not to behave,” Aila said.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call DLNR at 587-0401 or 587-0077.

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