Aquarium collectors capture hundreds of thousands of fish and invertebrates from Hawaiʻi’s reefs every year. Alarmingly, the Hawaiʻi’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has stated that this should be considered a minimum estimate because it does not verify the accuracy of submitted catch reports.
The collected animals are primarily herbivorous, reef-dwellers that serve unique functions in the coral reef ecosystem, such as helping to control algae growth.
Studies have shown that reducing diversity of reef fish and shellfish affects a reef’s ability to respond to stresses or disturbances. This is vitally important as reefs come under serious pressure from global threats, including climate change and ocean acidification.
In a series of lawsuits, Earthjustice filed suit on behalf of local conservation groups to stop the reckless collection of marine animals that threaten to empty Hawaiʻi reefs.