Lawmakers have advanced a bill that would limit aquarium fish collecting.

"Some folks are saying it's going to shut down the industry, it's not, but what it will do is make sure that these reefs have these beautiful fish," State Representative Kaniela Ing said. 

Rep. Ing introduced House Bill 1457. He says the measure was prompted by tourism officials and environmental protection agencies after they noticed less colorful fish when snorkeling.

"This bill will limit entry, so the folks that are currently doing it could still do it. They won't lose their jobs, but they just cannot have more people coming in and taking fish," Rep. Ing said. 

According to Rep. Ing, the measure is based off input gathered from three-years of work on the aquarium trade issue.

He says studies show aquarium reef fish populations are sustainable at current levels, but would decline if more businesses enter the industry.

"The fish that are missing are the ones that are taken by the aquarium trade," For the Fishes, executive director Rene Umberger said. "We need to increase the most beautiful and important fish that the trade targets, that's why these bills are so specific."  

Umberger says she supports bills that aim to protect aquatic life, like SB1240, which similar to Rep. Ing's measure.

But not all support House Bill 1457--  Coral Fish Hawaii's Randy Fernley said in a statement:

"Unfortunately, the information they based their bill upon was baseless and not scientifically correct. 75% of the aquarium fish in Hawaii are caught on the Kona coast of the Big Island. Our regulatory agency that oversees us, the DLNR, has done extensive work over the past 16 years implementing 6,700 transacts,70 research divers and countless numbers of hours studying the resource. They found that the resource is not only sustainable but growing in numbers."

"A lot of the arguments are that this industry is 'sustainable,' but that shouldn't be the bar.. the bar should be abundance," Rep. Ing said. 

The bill now heads to the House floor, and if passed, will head to the Senate.