Bill Text: HI SCR155 | 2019 | Regular Session | Introduced

Bill Title: Urging All Applicable State Agencies To Work Together With Interested Stakeholders, Including The Honolulu Harbor Users Group, In Assessing The Risk Of Aquatic Invasive Species To Hawaii, Vectors, And Possible Mitigations, In Preparation For The Establishment Of New Federal Standards In 2022.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 7-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2019-04-03 - Referred to WLH/EEP/TRN, JUD, referral sheet 49 [SCR155 Detail]

Download: Hawaii-2019-SCR155-Introduced.html


S.C.R. NO.














urging ALL APPLICABLE state agencies to work together with interested stakeholders, including the Honolulu Harbor Users Group, in assessing the risk of aquatic invasive species to Hawaii, vectors, and possible mitigations, in preparation for THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW FEDERAL STANDARDS IN 2022.



     WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii depends on heathy marine environments and ecosystems to support its unique cultural practices and recreational resources, preserve Hawaii residents' quality of life, support local businesses, and provide habitat and sustenance for a multitude of native species — many of which are found nowhere else on Earth; and


     WHEREAS, healthy reefs protect homes and infrastructure by mitigating the impacts of storm events; and


     WHEREAS, nearshore marine environments support the Hawaii tourism, aquaculture, and fisheries industries, at an estimated $4,000,000,000 in gross revenue per year; and


     WHEREAS, aquatic invasive species have proven to be devastating on some nearshore reef environments in Hawaii and waters worldwide, harming the functioning of marine ecosystems, public health, and industries; and


     WHEREAS, the recognized vectors for the introduction of aquatic invasive species to Hawaii's marine environment are vessel ballast water and biofouling, which account for more than half of all non-native marine and estuarine species, followed by escapees or purposeful introduction from aquaculture, pet trade, and research, with arrival and possible establishment of species through marine debris; and


     WHEREAS, the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan 2017-2027:


     (1)  Was developed through a public process and calls on state agencies and industry stakeholders to work together to close the gaps in Hawaii's biosecurity programs;


     (2)  Recognizes that programs that prevent the introduction of invasive species are far more cost effective and achievable than mitigation and eradication programs; and


     (3)  Lists the vector pathways of biofouling and ballast water as areas in need of effective regulation and management, and calls for ten new positions to assess and manage risk of this and other marine invasive species pathways; and


     WHEREAS, the federal Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) was signed into law on December 4, 2018, and requires the Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Coast Guard to consult with states and establish federal standards and a regulatory framework within four years for each discharge incidental to the normal operations of a vessel, including ballast water, vessel biofouling, and the in-water cleaning of vessel hulls; and


     WHEREAS, VIDA allows for states to pass regulations that are no more stringent than the federal regulations and to co-monitor, inspect, test, and enforce federal regulations in coordination with the United States Coast Guard; and


     WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii currently has a single person assigned to the task of developing and implementing Hawaii's ballast water and vessel biofouling program to prevent the introduction and spread of marine invasive species from commercial and recreational vessels; and


     WHEREAS, the United States Coast Guard does not currently test ballast water discharge, monitor efficacy of installed ballast water management systems, inspect vessel hulls for biofouling, or regulate the in-water cleaning of vessel hulls; and


     WHEREAS, purposeful introductions of species for aquaculture, research, and pet trade in the State are now regulated by the Department of Agriculture, yet species may still escape or be released; and


     WHEREAS, chapter 342D, Hawaii Revised Statutes, tasks the Department of Health with administering water pollution control regulations and enforcing water quality standards, including incidental discharges, and such regulations may be preempted in four years if new federal standards developed under VIDA are less stringent; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Health is committed to protecting water quality for the public health of humans, marine life, and wildlife and participating in a process to develop and implement Hawaii's ballast water and vessel biofouling program; and


     WHEREAS, the Department of Transportation Harbors Division is committed to protecting Hawaii's unique, fragile, and important environment and participating in a process to evaluate invasive species vectors, including commercial shipping vessels, prevention and mitigation alternatives, and quantification of resources needed to curtail, if not prevent, the introduction of alien species that have the potential to harm Hawaii's environment; and


     WHEREAS, the shipping maritime industry is an important component of the State's economy; and


     WHEREAS, a high level of coordination between various state agencies and stakeholders will be required to assess the issues and find workable solutions where necessary; and


     WHEREAS, commercial shipping companies have made great efforts to adopt mitigation technologies, including the use of fresh water ballast, the application of less toxic protective hull coatings, and by cleaning and reapplying coatings within recommended timeframes; and


     WHEREAS, non-commercial vessels, including recreational vessels and fishing vessels also play a role in moving aquatic species through biofouling, and some through ballast water; and


     WHEREAS, because there are overlapping jurisdictions of state agencies and new federal standards and regulations will come into effect by the close of 2022, agencies, vessel operators, and other stakeholders will need to work together to assess the risks, and where necessary, develop and implement aquatic alien species vector control programs; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Thirtieth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2019, the House of Representatives concurring, that all applicable state agencies are urged to work together with interested stakeholders, including the Honolulu Harbor Users Group, in assessing the risk of aquatic invasive species to Hawaii, vectors, and possible mitigations, in preparation for the establishment of new federal standards in 2022; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Land and Natural Resources and Department of Transportation Harbors Division are requested to submit a report on the status of their findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Sessions of 2020, 2021, and 2022; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture; Director of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources; Director of Health; Director of Transportation; Dean of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; and Executive Director of the Hawaii Harbors User Group.













Report Title: 

Aquatic Biosecurity