by Countable | 2.8.19
What’s the story?
- Lawmakers in Hawaii have advanced a proposed ban on killing sharks and rays in state waters.
- Unlike many marine mammals, sharks are not a federally protected species—however many states have laws against the sale of their fins.
What would the Hawaii bill do?
- Make it illegal to knowingly kill, capture or abuse any species of shark or ray in state waters.
- Allow exemptions for research, cultural practices, and public safety.
What are people saying?
- Rep. Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona), chairwoman of the House Environmental Protection and Energy Committee, said:
“As apex predators, sharks and rays help to keep the ocean ecosystem in balance, and protecting them from unnecessary harm is essential to the health of our coral reefs. I’m hopeful that this year will be the year that we are able to take this important step.”
- Sen. Mike Gabbard (D-Oahu), chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee, introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
- “In 2010, the state banned the taking of shark fins. However, we didn’t actually ban the capture or killing of whole sharks,” Gabbard said. “This bill is needed because sharks are the top predator in the ocean food chain and their numbers are declining.”
- The Office of Hawaiian affairs solicited public testimony about the proposed ban last year. Resident Edwin Watamura wrote in that he opposed legislation protecting sharks:
“It seems to be very extreme to outlaw any taking of sharks. There are many instances where sharks are a threat to human life and also could be a food source. If the sharks are an endangered species it is understandable, but if the stock of a species of shark is healthy and abundant it seems extreme to blanket all shark taking as illegal.”
What do you think?
Do you support protections for sharks and rays? Should state shark protections be extended to federal waters? Should Congress pass federal legislation to protect sharks and rays? Take Action above and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / Placebo365)