Economic Impact Statement should be done for all proposed legislation affecting the aquarium trade!
Hawaii based tropical fish wholesalers buy fish from the Pacific, combine them with Hawaii’s fish and send them to buyers all over the world. Nearly half of wholesalers sales are imports resold. Many countries like Kiribati (Christmas Island) depend on tropical fish for a majority of their country GDP. Hawaii legislation could put local wholesalers out of business greatly impacting other Pacific countries. Hawaii’s marine fish wholesalers profit from import resale’s are small.
Many jobs will be lost and the economy of Hawaii will suffer as a result of legislation designed to cripple our industry. Nearly half the cost of getting a fish to market is for air freight. One business alone spends $140,000 per year to Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines for interisland freight from Kona and Maui. There are 10-20 wholesalers shipping. This is just a small portion of freight as most imports and exports involve every major airline. Major air carriers rely on our freight to help cover costs of business. With out fish freight we could see a reduction of very important air flights to and from Hawaii. Even a small reduction of income to air carriers could cause major impacts to them.
Add to the air freight revenue the revenue my business gives to box suppliers of amounting to close to $60,000 a year. Loss of jobs could run as high as 60 divers, 120 workers in direct packing, and an unknown number of aquarium maintenance and support business workers. This is an astronomical number of lost jobs before attention is even drawn to those businesses the fish are sold to and their employees.
The Hawaii businesses that have greatly benefited from the tropical fish industry are: boat dealers, boat repair shops, dive shops, fishing supply stores, aquarium pet stores, pet store wholesalers, box suppliers, bag suppliers, oxygen gas suppliers, aquarium maintenance, tourist aquariums in Hotels, Sea Life Park, Waikiki Aquarium, gas stations, computer repair, office supply, interisland cargo shippers, Fish and Wildlife inspections fees, USDA inspections fees, Department of Agriculture fees, DNLR permit fees, ect.
We haven’t even touched the surface with the impact that would be felt on the 7 billion dollar U.S. pet industry. Many companies make products which support the tropical fish collecting. The following businesses impacted are: Aquarium manufactures, filter manufactures, aquarium ornaments manufacturers, filter, pump, UV sterilizers, protein skimmers, sand filters, pipes, plumbing, fish foods, pet stores, mainland distributors, other countries directly selling into other countries and the US, Aquarium fish book printers and distributors, all major mainland air carriers, etc.
Hawaii Controls It’s Own Future
Demographic studies have shown that in the future many of our global, nonrenewable resources such as oil and minerals will be depleted as the world population increases, leaving states to rely more on their own resources.
In years to come, it will be crucial for Hawaii to rely more on its own renewable marine resources. Restricting access to marine resources without complete deliberation of the impact of legislation would have on the future of Hawaii’s fishermen and the economy of the State would be a huge mistake.
To maintain our economy we must utilize our renewable resources with wisdom.