- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii is banning large-scale commercial harvesting of sea cucumbers with a law that takes effect Jan. 10.

Gov. David Ige signed the measure Thursday. Licensed aquarium collectors will be allowed to harvest two species of sea cucumbers, but only from Oahu waters. They will be limited to 20 per day and the entire commercial fishery is allowed an annual harvest of no more than 3,600.

“These numbers are based on data collected over many years and is expected to be sustainable,” said DLNR Chair Susanne Case in a news release. “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.”

The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the new rules Dec. 11.

Land officials in June approved a temporary ban on possessing sea cucumbers following mass harvests. This marked the state’s first regulation for sea cucumber harvesting.

“The DLNR worked quickly to stop the mass harvesting of sea cucumbers, and then to develop and propose permanent rules,” Ige said in the news release. “This action is expected to protect and sustain critically important sea cucumber populations in our near-shore waters.”

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