“The members of the (board) must have been too ashamed to make their decision at a public meeting,” Collins said. “The situation is bad for these fishermen and it’s bad for Hawaii’s people. And I know in their hearts they know it’s wrong, which is why they didn’t give us a hearing before deciding.”
A spokesman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. There was no public meeting because under state law, the board isn’t required to hold one for petitions for declaratory relief, said Joshua Wisch, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office.
Chun argues in his appeal that confining fishermen to ships violates the “law of the Splintered Paddle,” a state law with origins in the Hawaiian Kingdom which says people in Hawaii must have freedom of movement. “These unfair and illegal labor practices violate this constitutional and Hawaiian Kingdom-era law protecting the rights of the common person, specifically the vulnerable foreign workers that are exploited by the longline fishing industry,” the appeal said.
The board in its decision said it doesn’t have jurisdiction to consider allegations of unfair labor practices.