The Dolphin Fish Market in Hanalei, Kaua‘i’s North Shore, offers a lot of fresh, locally caught fish. Photo by Anni Caporuscio

Last month, the state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved an increase of 100 percent of the state Commercial Marine License (CML). State officials are saying the fee increase — which will affect local fishermen — was necessary to offset revenue losses because non-residents cannot be charged higher fees due to a court settlement.

People who sell the fish they catch in Hawaiian waters are required to have a CML, whether they’re full-time fishers or “weekend warriors,” according to a BLNR news release. At its Dec. 8 meeting, the BLNR approved an increase in the annual commercial marine license fee to $100 from $50. The increase became effective Jan. 16.

“This was something we really needed to do. The last time we increased the CML fee was September 1999, and our fee is really quite low compared with other states,” said Bruce Anderson, administrator for DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources. “We’re experiencing losses in revenues because non-residents can no longer be charged a higher fee, due to a court settlement. But our operational expenses keep going up. The increased revenues will help us with our current needs, including support for new on-line reporting and licensing options to better serve the public.”

The new rule also establishes a reporting deadline for dealers who buy marine life directly from commercial fishers.