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DLNR News Release-Settlement Reached with Operator of Illegal Na Pali Coast Tours

Posted on May 11, 2018 in Latest Department News


HONOLULU — The Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved a settlement today between the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) and Stephen E.J. Koehne regarding illegal commercial operation in Hanalei Bay ocean waters on Kaua‘i.

At BLNR’s November 9, 2017 meeting, DOBOR brought a civil enforcement action against Koehne, a self-proclaimed “pirate,” alleging three instances of illegal commercial activity and requesting issuance of a $15,000 civil penalty. Koehne requested, and was granted, a contested case hearing on the enforcement action, and the parties reached a settlement before contested case hearing proceedings were scheduled to take place.

According to DOBOR, Koehne had been taking passengers on commercial boat tours but claiming they were “friends of friends.” Despite being warned that his actions would be considered illegal commercial activity, Koehne continued to advertise and operate boat tours along Kaua‘i’s Nā Pali Coast.

“DOBOR implemented these limits on commercial activity through Hawai‘i Administrative Rules to address the community’s concerns, and we are very satisfied with the outcome of this enforcement action,” said DOBOR Administrator Ed Underwood. “DOBOR will be able to show the community that DLNR hears their concerns and is taking steps to enforce commercial activity violations. We hope that today’s settlement puts an end to this blatant violation of the rules,” Underwood added.

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