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State court ruling closes loophole for aquarium fishing

KAILUA-KONA (AP) — The state of Hawaii plans to comply with a court order to close a loophole allowing commercial aquarium fishing despite a previous ruling for the practice to be halted.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources said Monday it will stop issuing commercial marine licenses for aquarium fishing until the completion of an environmental review ordered by the Hawaii Supreme Court, West Hawaii Today reported.

Environmental groups and a individual plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in January alleging the land and natural resources department allowed commercial aquarium collection to continue despite the high court’s order — issuing or renewing at least 72 commercial marine licenses to commercial aquarium collectors.

Environmental Court Judge Jeffrey Crabtree ruled Friday that DLNR violated the Hawaii Environmental Policy Act by failing to complete the required environmental review process.