You would think that during this pandemic that the ever changing rules concerning fishing in Hawaii would be easily found but they’re not.
In last months report I provided information to help navigate industry wide USCG “charter” laws and I was quickly (and “officially”) reported on for violating the law. Even for days that I wasn’t out. I got a phone call from the local authorities on the accusation(s) and I asked if he had read my latest fishing report. Yes, he did. And yes, I know I put a target on my back when I wrote it but that doesn’t make the law any less valid. I stood by the law and won.
This month there were several local rule changes but how are you suppose to know what they are? One source is the official ‘Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation’ (DBOR) web site but that hasn’t been updated since April 14th. I found out through an email that there were some even newer rules that weren’t on the DBOR web site. In writing this report I tried searching Google for any new rule changes but came up empty. The email I got gave me a hint though so I went to the ‘Division of Aquatic Resources’ (DAR) website and found even newer rules dated April 16th.
The local fishing and boating rules went from “it’s OK to go fishing but no charters” to “no more than 2 people on a boat” with the exception of commercial fishing as long as everyone on the boat has a Hawaii commercial fishing permit. Six foot social distancing. That’s a good one for the small boats to try 🙂 Many big boats are only operated from the flying bridge so one person driving and only one person on the deck to do all the angling, leadering and gaffing. That’s OK with small fish but not very easy and even dangerous with the big ones. I’m actually set up for the 2 man scenario and do it often but most big boats are not set up that way.
At one point this month, the harbor was blocked off by the state to anyone who didn’t have “legitimate business” for being there. As I understand it, after the first day of this, it was stopped. There are several businesses inside the harbor entrance that are open daily. We still need parts, repairs, supplies and fuel for fishing and they’re staying open for us. As long as our overlords allow them to stay open.
This coming month will be one of the most interesting in my lifetime. As some states give people their freedom back, there is also a risk that the virus will have a resurgence. It could be big deal or it could be minor. That’s the biggest question right now and we will know the answer soon.
See ‘ya on the water,
Capt. Jeff Rogers,