Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - IN MEMORY -

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.

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