Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 19, 2018

Contact:  Maxx Phillips, (808) 284-0007,

Hawaii, Conservation Groups Team Up Against Illegal Aquarium Collection

New Hotline, Rewards Encourage Citizens to Report Poaching of Reef Fish

HONOLULU— The Center for Biological Diversity and other conservation groups have teamed up with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources to encourage people to report illegal collection of the state’s marine life for the aquarium trade. Citizens can report suspected poaching through a new hotline and collect rewards of up to $5,000 following successful prosecutions.

Poachers have continued to collect Hawaii reef fish and other wildlife despite last year’s ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court suspending state-issued aquarium permits until completion of a full environmental impact review.    

“We must all work together to ensure Hawaii’s rich marine life is protected from illegal poaching,” said Maxx Phillips, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Hawaii director. “Court orders and regulatory rulings suspending aquarium collecting are a good start, but those laws are meaningless without proper enforcement. We can all help ensure our beautiful reef fish don’t get illegally taken by the aquarium trade.”

Other groups supporting the reward and reporting program include For the Fishes, West Hawai‘i Humane Society and Moana ‘Ohana.

People who see illegal marine collection can call or text (808) NO-POACH or call the department at (808) 643-3567. They can also download the DLNRTip application for Android and Apple devices. Images and information on illegal aquarium trade activities can be found at

“We appreciate the efforts of these organizations that are working tirelessly to support our enforcement of aquarium collection laws, and to ensure only legal and pono fishing practices are used,” Suzanne Case, department chair of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, said in a department press release issued today

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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