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               Opae-ula are fully regulated in the same manner as ocean fish and licenses are required to collect opae-ula, to create opae-ula tanks and to sell the opae-ula tanks. For more information contact the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources,  Division of Aquatic Resources.


                Individuals or vessels engaged in taking, selling or offering marine life for commercial purposes must obtain a Commercial Marine License.  "Commercial purpose" means the taking of marine life for profit or gain, or as a means of livelihood, when the marine life is taken in or outside of Hawaii State, and when the marine life is sold, offered for sale, landed, or transported for sale anywhere in the State. 
                Every commercial marine licensee shall furnish to the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources a monthly report with respect to the marine life taken and the bait used. The report shall be submitted not later than the tenth day of the month following the month in which the marine life was taken. Failure or refusal to submit a monthly catch report shall be cause for revocation of the commercial marine license. Violators are also subject to fines of $25 to $500, and/or imprisonment of five  to thirty days.]

               Associates that collect and supply Fuku-Bonsai with opae-ula for incorporation into our Micro-Lobster tanks or for use in our captive breeding program have valid current commercial fishing licenses.  Opae-ula that are the result of the breeding program are covered under Fuku-Bonsai's Aquaculture Facility License.


                Creation of stabilized opae-ula tanks require bacterial inoculation to convert toxic wastes. Aquascapes, sand, or gravel that contain such bacteria is known as "live rock or live sand."  It is illegal to collect coral, beach sand, or natural ocean "live rock" to incorporate into tanks produced commercially for sale.  Production of such "live rock" requires a license as an aquaculture facility.  The license requires that the facility confirm that the marine life was caught by individuals with valid commercial fishing licenses.  It also allows the possession and sale of restricted or prohibited aquatic life and "live rock."

                Fuku-Bonsai is a licensed aquaculture facility.


                Any individual or retailer in Hawaii selling regulated aquatic life as an aquaculture market must have a license that will be good for two years from the date of issuing.  Each such licensee must obtain the marine life from legal sources or through legal means from only licensed aquaculture facilities or other licensees, and must maintain records of transactions. The license, receipts, and annual report shall be submitted upon written notification by the department.  A license is required by each market outlet, one license per outlet. 

                To conform to the law, all Fuku-Bonsai Hawaii State Authorized Micro-Lobster Retailers are required to have valid aquaculture dealer licenses to sell our products. Currently approved retailers include:
                FUKU-BONSAI CULTURAL CENTER,  Kurtistown, Hawaii (Big Island)
                DAN'S GREEN HOUSE,  133 Prison Street, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
                VUE HAWAII,  Kahala Mall, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii


                While no one likes government regulations, opae-ula are a limited natural resource. Over 95% of their anchialine pond habitats can no longer support them. With the increasing interest, there will be greater pressure on diminishing stocks.  Efforts have begun to restore ponds by removing exotic plant growth and introduced fish predators.  Rotenone has been effective in killing the exotic fish and even before the rotenone dissipates, the opae-ula return. 

                Ponds are being polluted when they are used as public swimming or bathing pools. Still other ponds are being filled to create roads, or to build homes or resorts.  We believe that private land owners should have the right to convert anchialine ponds into attractive landscaped fish ponds with beautiful Koi or other fish, or to use those natural ponds for other forms of aquaculture. While it is very commendable when private land owners voluntarily preserve the anchialine ponds in their original state, we do not believe it is appropriate for the government to require it. 

                If necessary to prevent extinction,  anchialine ponds on lands owned by the State or Federal governments should be restored,  preserved as opae-ula habitats, and collecting prohibited.

                The primary alternative to collecting natural stocks is captive breeding.  Fuku-Bonsai is leading private research with participation by all interested parties invited.  We fully support this alternative by publishing extensive information in this website and in our booklets.  We believe that attractive portable sustainable breeding colonies can be attractive teaching tools for a variety of subjects. Our goal is to become sufficiently knowledgeable to create units that can and will consistently breed and reproduce in a sustainable manner in educational institutions on an international basis.

                If successful, opae-ula will never become an endangered specie!

                Our trials indicate that the 1/2 gallon Introductory Mini-Breeder Tank is far superior to one quart and smaller units.  So we established the 1/2 gallon size as our smallest breeding tank unit.   But trials also show that there are significant improvements as the units get larger.  We have introduced a 3/4-gallon Educational Breeder Tank and offer discounts to educational institutions and teacher who agree to participate in our research and/or developing teaching materials. 

                A number of factors make this the most economical larger size.  It is still small enough to be a portable fully contained sustainable breeding colony.  By having a number of identical units in many parts of the country and many situations,  we expect to receive sufficient data that will lead to a greater understanding of the species and the pertinent reproduction process.  Our efforts will help to preserve this amazing endemic Hawaiian creature for future generations and everyone is invited to participate.  For more information, please contact me via email:

                I look forward to hearing from you!  ~~~David W. Fukumoto

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