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Posted: Thursday, June 26th, 2014 12:11 PM HST

Hawaii at center of battle over aquarium fish

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) Scientists say the aquarium fishery off the Big Island of Hawaii is among the best managed in the world. Even so, it's become the focus of a fight over whether it's ever appropriate to remove fish from reefs for people to look at and enjoy.

Mike Long of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says there's no justification of a fishery for hobby when the ocean faces a crisis.

The Seattle-based group wants to shut down the buying and selling of fish for aquariums, saying the practice from Hawaii to the Philippines is destroying coral reefs.

A coalition of Big Island fishermen, state regulators and even local environmentalists say the group should focus its attention elsewhere. They point to scientific research showing local aquarium fish stocks are rebounding thanks to fishery regulations.

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