Posted on Mar 6, 2024 in DOCARE, Main, News Releases, slider


March 6, 2024


HONOLULU – Five of nine men, cited for illegal fishing activity in the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD) on November 4, 2023, have been sentenced to perform 50 hours community service, ordered to pay fines of $500 to $1,000 and ordered to forfeit illegal fishing gear (spearguns).

On O‘ahu’s North Shore they’ve become known as the Waimea Bay Nine and their cases, heard yesterday and on Feb. 22, in Wahiawa First Circuit Court, have been closely watched by residents and conservation advocates. The cases against the remaining four alleged poachers continue with all now under bench warrants for failure to appear.

Denise Antolini, President of Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea, a North Shore non-profit that focuses its stewardship work on protection of Waimea Bay (part of the MLCD where the violations occurred), attended Tuesday’s hearing.

Antolini said, “The sentencing of these five defendants by the Hawaiʻi Environmental Court sends a strong message of punishment in response to the nighttime poaching of large quantities of fish illegally taken from the MLCD. It also sends a message about restorative justice through the community service program administered by the Judiciary.”

That program allows qualified misdemeanor defendants to complete their obligations by working on public service projects. Mālama Pūpūkea-Waimea is a qualified community service work site. Antolini continued, “We have offered to supervise some of the hours that these defendants must perform in the field as a way to have them give back to the resource that they damaged, and to educate them through hands-on experience about the importance of respecting and protecting this precious state marine reserve.”

Antolini, a recently retired University of Hawai‘i law professor, was instrumental in the development of the environmental court concept and the sentencing of the five poachers is being hailed as a significant win.

During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Deputy Attorney General David Williams pointed out that the poachers took 152 fish of various sizes, at night, when fish are susceptible because they’re sleeping. Each fish represents thousands of potential eggs, which directly impact the recovery of fish stocks. “Under these circumstances the defendants were basically pillaging across the conservation district,” Williams told the court.

Jason Redulla, Chief of the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) echoed Antolini’s comments. “It is gratifying to see the work our officers put in from the beginning of these cases to be adjudicated in a way that the message is clear. We do have officers on night patrols, and thanks to the recent addition of more than 40 new DOCARE officers statewide, we are more readily able to respond to reports of illegal fishing on an around-the-clock basis.”

Antolini also had praise for the prosecutors from the Dept. of the Attorney General who brought the first five cases to conclusion. “Deputy AGs Michelle Pu‘u and David Williams of the Criminal Justice Division were dogged in their pursuit of justice in these cases. Now we hope the remaining four defendants will come forward and have their day in court. The entire north shore community and anyone concerned about protecting Hawai‘i’s natural resources owe a real debt of gratitude to DOCARE and the Attorney General’s Office for their pursuit of these cases. These pleas are a huge success, but it’s not over yet,” Antolini added.

Status of Defendants:


  • Jay Koichy, 27                      Bench Warrant
  • Berd Tison, 31                      Bench Warrant
  • Tommy Liko, 27                    Bench Warrant
  • Moses Kasimiro, 41             Bench Warrant
  • DJ Derno, 42                        Pled ($1,000 fine, community service, confiscation)
  • Jason Sewell, 30                  Pled ($1,000 fine, community service, confiscation)
  • Kerman Kaman, 41              Pled ($1,000 fine, community service, confiscation)
  • Anson Giden, 38                  Pled ($1,000 fine, community service, confiscation)
  • Jackson Nithan, 50              Pled ($500 fine, community service, confiscation)


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(All images courtesy: DLNR)


Photographs – Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (Nov. 4, 2023):




Media Contact:

Dan Dennison

Communications Director

[email protected]