Protect Sharks and Rays in Hawaiian Waters!

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Last year we introduced a bill that would prevent the purposeful killing of sharks and rays in Hawaiian waters and were overwhelmed by the support! Over 10,000 people signed sending a strong message of support, but the bill was not passed based on the decision of one committee chair not to schedule a hearing for the bill.

However, the movement to #HelpSaveSharks is stronger than ever and we are determine to make this the year this important bill becomes law in the state of Hawaii! Please join the ocean advocates at One Ocean Diving and Keiko Conservation in conserving Hawaii's vital marine predators by signing this petition in support of bill SB489 relating to shark and ray protection in the state of Hawaii. 

Sharks and rays are extremely important to ocean ecosystems. As ocean predators near the top of the food chain, sharks keep the ecosystem balanced, regulate populations of other marine life, and ensure healthy fish stock and reefs. 

Sharks and rays are more vulnerable than most other fish species. They are long-lived and slow-growing, start reproducing at an advanced age, and produce relatively few offspring per year. If the food chain is disrupted by a decline in the shark population, it affects the entire ocean ecosystem, known as a trophic cascade. 

Protection for sharks and rays ultimately means healthier, more resilient oceans and reefs that are better able to withstand other pressures on the ocean ecosystem from climate change and pollution. 

Sharks and rays not only play important ecological roles but are also valued figures in Hawaiian culture and are important economically to ocean recreation industries and to tourism in Hawaii. Sharks or manō are regarded in high honor as Hawaiian ʻaumakua or family guardians and ancestors.

These figures are deeply ingrained in Hawaiian culture and are known to provide protection for native Hawaiians. To defend and seek to spend time with these animals is a cultural right in Hawaii.

The benefits of maintaining viable populations greatly outweigh any value that would be gained by killing these species. Sharks have very little functional protection here in Hawaii, and with shark populations dropping rapidly around the world the time for action is now. 

This petition will be shared with Hawaii state house and legislative committees. You can send in your own written testimony at capitol.hawaii.gov in support of SB489, and stay tuned to @waterinspired for updates on hearings if you want to testify in person. Please sign and share this petition with as many people as you can. Please follow @waterinspired @oneoceanconservation @keiko_conservation and the affiliated organizations for updates on this bill and more ways to help and get involved.

"Latest Campaigns" at HelpSaveSharks.org

WaterInspired.org

KeikoConservation.com

Read the details of the bill below:

THE SENATE
S.B. NO.
489
THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019
 
STATE OF HAWAII
  
A BILL FOR AN ACT

RELATING TO SHARK AND RAY PROTECTION.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that sharks and rays are extremely important to ocean ecosystems.  As ocean predators near the top of the food chain, sharks keep the ecosystem balanced, regulate populations of other marine life, and ensure healthy fish stock and reefs.

     The legislature also finds that sharks and rays are more vulnerable than most other fish species.  They are long-living and slow-growing, start reproducing at an advanced age, and produce relatively few offspring per year.  If the food chain is disrupted by a decline in the shark population, it affects the entire reef system.  Protection for sharks and rays ultimately means healthier, more resilient oceans and reefs that are better able to withstand other pressures on the ocean ecosystem from climate change and pollution.

     The legislature further finds that sharks and rays on the reefs not only play important ecological roles, but are also valued figures in Hawaiian culture and are important economically to ocean recreation industries and to tourism in Hawaii.  The benefits of maintaining viable populations greatly outweigh any value that would be gained by killing these species.

     The purpose of this Act is to protect sharks and rays for ecological purposes, for their value to the ocean recreation industry, and for their value to native Hawaiian cultural practices by:

     (1)  Establishing fines and penalties for knowingly capturing, taking, possessing, abusing, or entangling a shark, whether alive or dead, or killing a shark, within state marine waters;

     (2)  Expanding the existing prohibition on knowingly capturing or killing a manta ray to apply to all rays; and

     (3)  Expanding the prohibition regarding rays to include knowingly capturing, taking, possessing, abusing, or entangling a ray, whether alive or dead, or killing a ray, within state marine waters.

     SECTION 2.  Chapter 188, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

     "§188-    Sharks; mano; prohibitions; exceptions; penalties and fines.  (a)  Except as provided in subsection (e), or as otherwise provided by law, no person shall knowingly capture, take, possess, abuse, or entangle any shark, whether alive or dead, or kill any shark, within state marine waters.

     (b)  Any person violating this section or any rule adopted pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor; provided that the fine for violating this section shall be:

     (1)  $500 for a first offense;

     (2)  $2,000 for a second offense; and

     (3)  $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense.

     (c)  In addition to any other penalty imposed under this section, a person violating this section shall be subject to:

     (1)  An administrative fine of no more than $10,000 for each shark captured, taken, possessed, abused, entangled, or killed in violation of this section;

     (2)  Seizure and forfeiture of any captured sharks, commercial marine license, vessel, and fishing equipment; and

     (3)  Assessment of administrative fees and costs, and attorney's fees and costs.

     (d)  The criminal penalties and administrative fines, fees, and costs shall be assessed per shark captured, taken, possessed, abused, entangled, or killed in violation of this section.

     (e)  This section shall not apply to:

     (1)  Special activity permits allowed under section l87A-6 or research permits authorized by law; provided that the permit issued does not allow a take that exceeds the potential biological removal level; provided further that the department of land and natural resources may adopt rules to define "take" for purposes of this subsection and determine when a take exceeds the potential biological removal level;

     (2)  The department of land and natural resources or its designated agent if the capture, taking, possession, abuse, entanglement, or killing is for the protection of public safety; and

     (3)  Sharks taken outside of state marine waters and possessed on a vessel in state marine waters pursuant to any federally managed fishery, for the purpose of landing the catch in the State.

     (f)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the exercise of traditional and customary rights protected pursuant to article XII, section 7, of the Hawaii State Constitution.

     (g)  For the purposes of this section, "shark" means any species of shark within the subclass Elasmobranchii."

     SECTION 3.  Section 188-39.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

     "[[]§188-39.5[]  Manta rays;] Rays; hihimanu; prohibitions, penalties and fines.  (a)  [No] Except as provided in subsection (e), no person shall knowingly capture [or kill], take, possess, abuse, or entangle a [manta] ray, whether alive or dead, or kill any ray, within state marine waters.

     (b)  Any person violating this section or any rule adopted pursuant to this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined:

     (1)  $500 for a first offense;

     (2)  $2,000 for a second offense; and

     (3)  $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense.

     (c)  In addition to any other penalty imposed under this section, a person violating this section shall be subject to:

     (1)  An administrative fine of not more than $10,000 for each [manta] ray captured, taken, possessed, abused, entangled, or killed in violation of this section;

     (2)  Seizure and forfeiture of any captured [manta] rays, commercial marine license, vessel, and fishing equipment; and

     (3)  Assessment of administrative fees and costs, and attorney's fees and costs.

     (d)  The criminal penalties and administrative fines and costs shall be assessed per [manta] ray captured, taken, possessed, abused, entangled, or killed in violation of this section.

     (e)  This section shall not [prohibit] apply to special activity permits allowed under section 187A-6[;] or research permits authorized by law; provided that the permit issued does not allow a take that exceeds the potential biological removal level; and provided further that the department [shall] may adopt rules to define a "take" and determine when a take exceeds the potential biological removal level.

     (f)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict the exercise of traditional and customary rights protected pursuant to article XII, section 7, of the Hawaii State Constitution.

     (g)  For the purposes of this section, "ray" means any species of ray within the subclass Elasmobranchii."

     SECTION 4.  Section 188-70, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

     "(a)  Any person violating any provision of or any rule adopted pursuant to this chapter, except sections 188-23 [and], 188-39.5, and 188-   , is guilty of a petty misdemeanor and, in addition to any other penalties, shall be fined not less than:

     (1)  $100 for a first offense;

     (2)  $200 for a second offense; and

     (3)  $500 for a third or subsequent offense."

     SECTION 5.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

     SECTION 6.  Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.  New statutory material is underscored.

     SECTION 7.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2019.


 


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