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Fee hike looming for boating oriented businesses statewide


By Eric Naktin

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    HONOLULU, Hawaii (KITV) — Fees are likely on the verge of going up for many “ocean-oriented” businesses in Hawaii including tours boats, snorkel tours and more.

It’s due to an ocean stewardship user fee of one dollar per passenger or customer.

The money is to go toward protecting marine resources, research, mitigation and restoration.

On the open waters and piers of Oahu, there are mixed review when it comes to potentially charging extra.

Easy Diver crew member Joe Chaney told KITV4, “I think that that’s completely valid especially out here in Hawaii, oceanic conservation is going to be something that’s super crucial for the area and for the culture, so charging an extra dollar makes sense.”

Princess Kuhio Dinner Cruise Chef George Silva said, “The people are poor, the people are broke, can’t support more taxes.”

Visiting from San Antonio, TX, Dishen Patel told KITV4, “Iin the long run you’re helping the community come together, to fix things that may be really detrimental.”

Thursday night, a meeting at Stevenson Middle School addressed specifics and concerns of the statute, a skeptical business owner, spoke to KITV4.

Hawaii Hot Spots Surf School owner Errol Kane said, “I oppose it, we already pay a lot of fees to the voting division, and just coming out of covid, being shut down for almost a year, we’re just slowly getting back to normal, and now here comes another fee – reading the bill it seems like the customer is going to pay for it, but to get their dollar, we have to pay the book keeper, somebody has to regulate and watch what’s going on, it’s a whole other extra thing, that the whole company has to do now.

Once it gets final approval from the Board of Land and Natural Resources and the Governor, the stewardship fee will begin next year.

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