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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Maui parking squeeze angers fishers


By HARRY EAGAR
Maui News

LAHAINA, Maui The congestion in the parking lot at Mala Wharf over the weekend was so bad that some people going fishing said they had to park half a mile away. Others just went home.

Half a dozen of them blame the SubAviator operation that has occupied five of the state boat ramp's 13 parking spaces for nearly two weeks.

"On the weekends, it's terrible," fisherman Barry Sakamoto said Monday. He said he had to park as far away as Kenui Street.

SubAviator, which operates a two-person minisub, has a film permit to use part of the parking lot.

Deborah Ward, spokeswoman for the state Department of Land and Natural resources, said it is not considered a commercial tour operation and does not need a commercial permit.

SubAviator offers courses to learn to "fly" the sub, which has a novel operating mechanism. One can go for a ride on SubAviator for $3,350 a day. For that reason, the fishers are calling it a commercial use.