Governor David Ige (center) with guest speakers from India and Hawaiʻi government officials

Hawaiʻi Governor David Ige signed Senate Bill 2453, a bill that strengthens Hawaiʻi’s Environmental Court system, into law at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The signing took place at the 2016 India-Hawaiʻi Law Symposium.

To strengthen the judicial toolkit for addressing aquatics and fisheries violations, such as illegally taking a female lobster, using an illegal net, or spearfishing in a protected area, the new legislation will allow district court judges to sentence violators to community service and educational training in addition to or as an alternative to existing fines. In effect, it will create a system whereby poachers can learn to become stewards of the environment.

“This innovative new legislation was strongly supported in the legislative session by a diverse group of legislators and stakeholders including fishers and conservation advocates, the judiciary and DLNR, who all agreed that effective enforcement is key to sustainable fishing and natural resources,” said Associate Dean Denise Antolini who has helped build the Environmental Law Program at the UH law school. “The bill is nicknamed ASSET—for Alternative Sentencing and Supplemental Environmental Training—because it is focused on changing the behavior of violators of our natural resource laws in a positive way and for the long-term benefit of the entire community.”

Read more about the signing and the new law at the law school website.

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