Hawaii considers penalties for ‘harming’ sharks and rays

hawaiihaShark Year Magazine,
07. February 2014

Hawaii : Penalties considered for killing, harming any species of shark within state marine waters.

House Bill 2380, from Rep. Nicole Lowen, would create penalties as high as $10,000 for any person who knowingly captures, harms or kills sharks and rays within state waters.

The full text of the bill is provided below. It has a hearing scheduled for today, 07. February 2014 .

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014
STATE OF HAWAII

H.B. NO. 2380

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 towards the top of the food chain, sharks and rays keep the ecosystem balanced, regulate populations of other marine life, and ensure healthy fish stock and reefs.

Sharks and rays are more vulnerable to fishing pressures than most other fish species.  They are long-lived, slow-growing, start reproducing at an advanced age, and produce relatively few offspring per year.  If over-fished, these populations take a long time to recover.  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.

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 these species for ecological purposes, for their value to the ocean recreation industry and to native Hawaiian cultural practices, and to establish fines and penalties for knowingly harming, killing, or capturing sharks or rays within state waters.

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

§188-     Sharks; prohibitions, penalties and fines.(a)  No person shall knowingly capture, harm, or kill any species of 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 not more than $10,000 for each shark captured, harmed, 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 and costs shall be assessed per shark captured, harmed, or killed in violation of this section.

(e)  This section shall not prohibit special activity permits allowed under section 187A-6; provided that:

(1)  The permit issued does not allow a take that exceeds the potential biological removal level; and

(2)  The department shall adopt rules to define a “take” and determine when a take exceeds the potential biological removal level.

SECTION 3.  Section 188-39.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending its title and subsections as follows:

1.  By amending the title and subsection (a) to read:

[[]§188-39.5[]]  [Manta rays;] Rays; prohibitions, penalties and fines.  (a)  No person shall knowingly capture, harm, or kill [a manta ray] the following species of rays within state marine waters[.]:  manta ray, spotted eagle ray, broad stingray, pelagic stingray, Hawaiian stingray.

2.  By amending subsections (c) and (d) to read:

“(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, harmed, 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, harmed, or killed in violation of this section.”

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 upon its approval.

Report Title:

Sharks; Rays; Poaching and Commercial Fishing Prohibited

Description:

Creates administrative penalties for any person who knowingly captures, harms, or kills sharks and rays within state marine waters.

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2 Comments

  1. L. E. Aarin Jacobs

    So last Friday, I provided my first supportive testimony at Hawai’i’s State Capitol in support of House Bill 2380 relating to the protection of sharks and rays.
     I can say it was nothing like I expected, in fact, I am very disappointed with the OMH Committee Chair, Faye Hanohano. After providing my supportive testimony, I was asked by Representative Hanohano to come up for questions. She very rudely berates me in front of the committee, asking questions and making statements that were irrelevant to the situation and discrediting to her position as a committee chair:
     She says, (and I paraphrase), if there is a taro famine, and she cannot eat shark because of the penalties she’ll face, then does she turn to eating people? I see the point she makes that shark has been a source of food for the native Hawai’ians, but her statement makes no sense. There is plenty of other food to eat on the islands including other fish, pig, and a variety of fruits. Also, we live in the 21st century, not pre-westernized Hawai’i. How about going to your locally grown farmer’s market? How about going to a grocery store? I’m sure she can afford to feed herself with the amount she makes in this government position. But to suggest eating human, even as a joke, is very unprofessional.
    She then asks me if I have ever swam with a shark, to which I replied yes. She then says I was violating the shark’s home and space by doing so. Afterwards, she contradicts herself by saying, (again paraphrasing), the people want to swim in the ocean, but they can’t because of the sharks attacking people. Didn’t she just get through saying I was violating the shark’s home by swimming in the ocean? Wouldn’t the people be violating the shark’s home as well? Or since I’m a westerner, I have no right? She rhetorically asked the audience why all of the westerners come over and tell them what they can and can’t do, and it seems she was very prejudiced to anyone who is not of native descent and didn’t care to think that maybe we care about the land too.
    Her final irrelevant question she asked was, how old am I? I told her my age, and she gave me a “pfft” and told me to sit down as if my age had something to do with the situation. 
    At the end of the 8 o‘clock agenda, she deferred the bill. There were 64 testimonies regarding house bill 2380, and 62 of them were in support. Only 2 of the testimonies were opposing the bill. Her reasoning for deferring the bill was that none of the supporting testimonies made mention of the Hawaiian constitution article 12, section 7 which relates to the traditional rights of the native people. And then she added that the two opposing testimonies did make mention of this article and concerned the rights of the Hawaiian people. I read the testimonies when they were added to the website after the hearing and the two that opposed made no mention of article 12 section 7 and didn’t mention the native people at all. In fact, one of them had no comments and merely read “opposed”. Plus, the names of the people providing those two testimonies did not sound at all like traditional Hawaiian names. So she completely ignored all of the supportive testimonies, all of the people who showed up to provide supportive testimony, and ignored the facts stated to defer the bill, then lie about the content of the two documents in order to give herself a reason to ignore all of the other ones. She is obviously geared towards Hawaiian affairs and has no regard for natural resource management or the health and wellbeing of the people or herself, so long as she gets to eat her “ono” shark that’s filled with mercury. She might think she speaks for the Hawaiian people, but if they truly didn’t want this bill to pass on this subject matter, we would have seen more testimonies opposing the bill that actually mention article 12, section 7.
    This legislator has done nothing but prove how corrupt the system is, and show that she is biased to her own wants and not those of the people. And the only people she thinks she’s concerned with are the natives. As an elected official of the state government, Faye Hanohano needs to take into consideration the wants and needs of everybody in the state. If not, she should consider the efforts of the people who do care enough to show up or submit testimony for their passions and concerns for the environment.  
    After the hearing, I left, and the rest of the committee (minus the vice chair) came out to apologize to me for Hanohano’s behavior and treatment towards me. I’m not sure if it was in hopes to avoid bad press or if it was because they truly felt bad for me, but I appreciated it. An apology, however, isn’t enough to make it right because there is no place for a corrupt legislator in the capitol and in my opinion she needs to be removed. 

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