Tag Archives: Hawaii Longline Association

Longline fishing industry scrutinized for hiring of foreign fishermen

The Hawaii Longline Association has jumped into a legal fight they say threatens their livelihood. Longliners oppose a Maui fisherman’s complaint against the state. In a Circuit Court filing, the association defends its practice of hiring fishermen from foreign countries and challenges a lawsuit filed by fisherman Malama Chun. He demands the state stop issuing commercial fishing licenses to foreign fishermen.,,, But Longline Association president Sean Martin said there’s nothing illegal about the state’s licensing practices. click here to read the story 08:02

Hawaii bill would ban licenses for some foreign fishermen

A bill in the Hawaii Legislature aims to change rules for how fishing licenses are issued to foreign crew members that make up the majority of the state’s commercial fleet. Now, boat owners or captains bring foreign crew members’ passports and customs documents to a state agency to get their licenses – without the fishermen present. A federal legal loophole allows foreign fishermen to work off the coast of Hawaii, but they are technically not allowed to enter the country. The bill would require anyone seeking a commercial fishing license in Hawaii to appear in person. State Sen. Karl Rhoads says he wants to change the law so people who are not permitted to enter the U.S. cannot get a license to fish on American-flagged boats sailing from Honolulu. The Hawaii Longline Association opposed the bill, saying the industry is already regulated and additional requirements are unnecessary. Read the story here  16:00

Officials say they cannot enforce Hawaii fishing contracts

Federal officials cannot enforce a contract being proposed by the commercial fishing industry as a solution to concerns about foreign fishing crews in Hawaii, leaving the industry responsible for enforcing its own rules. Federal and state officials met with vessel owners, captains and representatives from the fleet Thursday at a pier in Honolulu. The normally private quarterly meeting was opened to media and lawmakers to discuss conditions uncovered in an Associated Press investigation that found some foreign fishermen had been confined to vessels for years. On Wednesday, Hawaii state Rep. Kaniela Ing held a public meeting at the state Capitol on the issue. Ing and other lawmakers pressed representatives from the fishing industry and government agencies about what can be done to increase oversight and improve conditions in the industry. Read the story here 09:31

Hawaii lawmakers hold public meeting on foreign fishermen

5808338b8495f-imageA woman who worked as an observer on fishing boats that docked in Honolulu described for Hawaii lawmakers what it was like without toilets, showers or hot water. “You have a cold water deck hose as a shower…the water tastes like iron,” said Ashley Watts, a former observer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Watts’ comments to lawmakers at the state Capitol Wednesday followed an Associated Press investigation that found some fishermen have been confined to vessels for years. A federal loophole allows the foreign men to work but exempts them from most basic labor protections. Many foreign fishermen have to stay on the boats because they are not legally allowed to enter the United States.  Before the meeting, a group of Hawaii residents and activists rallied outside the state Capitol to call for better conditions for fishermen, demanding an end to what they call unacceptable living and working conditions. Read the story here 13:25

What Quota? Hawaii Longliners Are Fishing For Ahi Again

ahi-tuna406x250Hawaii’s longline fishermen are back at sea in search of more ahi after extending their quota limit through an agreement with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The 2016 season had ended early, as it has for the past few years, when the longline fleet in late July hit its 3,554-ton limit for bigeye tuna in the Western and Central Pacific. The deal between Quota Management Inc. President Khang Dang and Northern Marianas Gov. Ralph Torres involves paying the territory $250,000 for 1,000 tons of its 2,000-ton limit. Under the agreement, QMI can assign its rights and obligations to the Hawaii Longline Association, a wholly owned subsidiary of QMI. The association is a nonprofit trade group formed to support the $100 million commercial longline fisheries industry, which includes a fleet of roughly 140 vessels ported in Honolulu. (the author seem to have an axe to grind) Read the story here 09:53

Hawaii longline industry creates task force to respond to allegations of human trafficking and poor working conditions.

jim-cook-hawaii-longline-640x420Hawaii longline industry leaders say they have formed a task force and hired an expert on slavery in response to media reports about human trafficking, forced labor and poor working conditions aboard some of their boats. “We’re trying to get a sort of fleet assessment, get our arms around the problem and see where we’re going to take it,” said Jim Cook, who owns several longline fishing boats and serves on the Hawaii Longline Association board of directors. He said Monday that the goal is to weed out the “bad actors,” in part by requiring a universal crew contract that incorporates international norms to address forced labor. That contract is being finalized and should be “ready to rock” in the next couple days, Cook said. The task force also includes John Kaneko, program manager of the Hawaii Seafood Council, Khang Dang, president of Quota Management, and Katrina Nakamura, who was also hired as a consultant to provide guidance to the industry. Read the story here 08:25

Hawaii’s Longline Fishing industry pushes back following questions about labor practices

Allegations of harsh treatment of workers in Hawaii’s longline fishing fleet  have made headlines nationally. Now, the industry is defending itself, one day after a grocery store chain stopped buying tuna from Hawaii’s fish auction. There are 140 longline boats and 700 fishermen in Hawaii’s fishing fleet. The undocumented workers’ employment is legal. “It’s a very in-demand job for them,” Hawaii Longline Association president Sean Martin said. University of Hawaii professor Uli Kozok interprets for Indonesian fishermen. He’s heard complaints of physical abuse aboard the boats. “They’re quite a few stories that I’ve heard where fishermen were beaten by the captain or by the first officer,” he said. He said fishermen complain of insufficient food and third-world working conditions. Martin thinks the allegations are unfounded. “It’s a long ways from slave labor and human trafficking,” he said. Read the story here 11:25

Hawaii fishermen upset at Hawaii monument expansion

No-Fishing-e1449493453695President Barack Obama is to travel to Hawaii this week to mark the new designation of the expanded Papahanaumokuakea Marina National Monument which he signed despite strong opposition from the Hawaii fishing industry. President Obama who was born in Hawaii is expected to cite the need to protect public lands and waters from climate change. The Western Pacific fishery Management Council of which American Samoa is a member voiced disappointment with Obama’s decision, saying it “serves a political legacy” rather than a conservation benefit. Council member from American Samoa Taulapapa Willie Sword told KHJ News in a recent interview the territory should be concerned with the Hawaii monument expansion because “we could be next.” There was also opposition from the fishing industry in Hawaii. Sean Martin, the president of the Hawaii Longline Association, said his organization was disappointed Obama closed an area nearly the size of Alaska without a public process. “This action will forever prohibit American fishermen from accessing those American waters. Quite a legacy indeed,” he said in an email to The Associated Press. The Pew Charitable Trusts helped lead the push to expand the monument. Read the rest here 11:39

Would Hawaii Marine Monument Expansion Hurt The Tuna Industry?

Conservationists and others are crying foul over letters that state lawmakers recently sent President Obama that urged him to not consider expanding the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. They’re specifically concerned about the numbers used to justify opposition, calling the estimated $7 million financial hit to the longline tuna fishing industry misleading at best. “It’s just a false logic to suggest that a mobile fishery resource has to be fished in this particular location,” said David Henkin, staff attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization. “You’re talking about catching fish,” Henkin said. “You’re not cutting down trees. You’re not mining for gold.” Representatives of the longline fishing industry say it’s not so much about how much money from ahi they would potentially lose if the monument is expanded as it is about the government further limiting the places they can fish. “The fact of the matter is that we continue to be squeezed out of traditional areas,” said Sean Martin, president of the Hawaii Longline Association. Read the story here 08:04

Hawaiian leaders urge President Barack Obama to expand marine conservation area

fisherman-obamaA group of Native Hawaiian leaders have urged President Barack Obama to expand what’s already one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. But the president of the Hawaii Longline Association said Friday the lobbying effort is using Hawaiian culture as an excuse to close off more waters to fishermen. Papahanaumokuakea (pah-pah-HAH-now-moh-cuh-ah-cay-ah) Marine National Monument is a 140,000-square-mile area of the Pacific where remote islands, atolls, islets and coral reefs serve as habitat for some of the world’s most endangered species. The region is also a sacred place in the history, culture and cosmology of Native Hawaiians. Read the rest here 09:47

Obama Extends (Scaled Back) Hawaii National Marine Monument – Kitty Simonds,“U.S. fishermen should be able to fish in U.S. zones,”

No FishingThe White House announced late Wednesday that President Barack Obama would prohibit fishing in three of America’s remote island territories in the Pacific by declaring them marine national monuments. In June, Obama had proposed closing five areas, which would have doubled the no-take zone. Read the rest here 07:54