ANTHONY BLAIR COSTA
Anthony Blair Costa, better known as "Tony" to family and friends, a passionate protector of rights for Hawaii’s near shore fishing community, died on August 17, 2017 after a brief battle with cancer. He was 58.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Tony’s personal and professional life revolved around the ocean. He grew up surfing, fishing and diving offshore of Niu, developing a love of the ocean at an early age. Tony loved the area and bought a house in Niu, not far from the family home in which he was raised.
Tony’s other great love was his family, and he was resolute in caring for his children - daughters, 14-year-old Laura Isabella Costa and 12-year-old Sophia Jolie Costa.
A member of the Class of 1977 at Punahou School, Tony completed a work-study program in tropical horticulture and botany at the Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden at Lawai, Kauai, from 1977 to 1978.
A former part-time commercial fisherman, Tony joined Pacific Ocean Producers in 1993. As Director of Foreign Sales, Tony developed business opportunities for POP in American Samoa, Samoa, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea.
Tony also had a strong entrepreneurial streak and was the owner of Hawaii Fresh, LLC, an import-export company that traded in vanilla. He worked with suppliers in Tahiti, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.
In addition to his professional life, Tony became a tenacious proponent of community causes that touched his heart. He was a familiar sight at the State Capitol, where he was spokesperson for Hawaii Nearshore Fishermen from 1998 to 2016. He was a well-known advocate of the right of local fishermen to fish near shore waters.
Tony was also instrumental in the passage of legislation in 2010 that prevents the sale of publicly-owned Hawaiian fishponds statewide. His aim was to protect and restore historic Kalauha’iha’i, which is located in Niu. He recognized the significance of restoring subterranean freshwater flows and their relationship to healthy coastal fisheries. The legislative victory made possible the ongoing community stewardship and educational programs of the Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center.
Among the other organizations Tony supported were Punahou School, the Parish of St. Clement, and the Boys & Girls Club of Honolulu.
Tony’s interests also included membership in the Hawaii Potters’ Guild, and a long-time passion for family genealogy.
Tony Costa was born in Honolulu on December 12, 1958. He is survived by his daughters Laura Isabella Costa and Sophie Jolie Costa; his mother, Mazeppa King Costa; sister, Monte Costa; brother, Page Costa of Los Angeles, California; niece Lucella Costa of Los Angeles; and aunt, Virginia A. King of Sebastian, Florida. His father, Robert O. Costa, died on February 18, 1989. Tony was formerly married to Diana Cristina Villa.
Family and friends are invited to A Celebration of the Life of Anthony Blair Costa on October 7, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Parish of St. Clement, 1515 Wilder Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii. Memorial contributions may be made in the name of the Anthony B. Costa Trust (to support scholarships for his children), and/or Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center, P.O. Box 240204, Honolulu, HI 96825-0204.