Quantcast

Will Hawaii Ban Purposeful Killing and Abuse of Sharks and Rays?

Oceans
Grey reef sharks at Maui Ocean Center. Joe Boyd / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Hawaiian lawmakers and conservationists are pushing for a landmark law to protect the Aloha State's sharks and rays.

House Bill 808, which outlaws the intentional killing, capture, abuse or entanglement of sharks and rays in state marine waters, passed its first committee meeting on Wednesday. The upper chamber version, Senate Bill 489, secured its first committee approval late last month and passed a second reading on Monday.


If the proposal becomes law, Hawaii could be the first state in the nation to have such sweeping protections for the marine creatures, according to the Guardian.

Penalties for a first offense would range from $500 and goes up to $10,000 for a third or subsequent offense, according to a press release. Exemptions are allowed for research, cultural practices and public safety.

The bills were re-introduced on Jan. 18 by state Sen. Mike Gabbard, who chairs the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee, and state Rep. Nicole Lowen, who chairs the House Environmental Protection and Energy Committee.

Last year, a similar measure unanimously passed in the Senate but stalled in the House.

"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," Lowen said in the release. "I'm hopeful that this year will be the year that we are able to take this important step."

The measure has received support from people around the country, the Guardian reported, including Ocean Ramsey, a Hawaii-based marine biologist whose jaw-dropping photos with a massive great white shark went viral last month.

"These animals have been around for 450 million years, and during my lifetime so many of them will go extinct," she told the Guardian. "I want it to stop. It's not fair to them and it's not fair to future generations."

Hawaii already has one of the strongest anti-finning laws in the country. That law, which passed in 2010, also prohibits the possession of fins.

But the latest measure explicitly prohibits the intentional killing, capture, abuse or entanglement of sharks and rays, and also expands an existing prohibition on knowingly capturing or killing a manta ray to include all rays.

"Sharks (mano) and Rays (hihimanu) are key marine species, important to the resiliency of our oceans," Gabbard said in the release. "They deserve full protection under law from unnecessary killing or exploitation."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Danielle Nierenberg and Katherine Walla

As the holiday season ramps up for many across the world, Food Tank is highlighting 15 children's books that will introduce young eaters, growers and innovators to the world of food and agriculture. Authors and organizations are working to show children the importance — and fun — of eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, growing their own produce, and giving food to others in need.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Purple cabbage, also referred to as red cabbage, belongs to the Brassica genus of plants. This group includes nutrient-dense vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Lauren Wolahan

For the first time ever, the UN is building out a roadmap for curbing carbon pollution from agriculture. To take part in that process, a coalition of U.S. farmers traveled to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Spain this month to make the case for the role that large-scale farming operations, long criticized for their outsized emissions, can play in addressing climate change.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

In recent years, acai bowls have become one of the most hyped-up health foods on the market.

They're prepared from puréed acai berries — which are fruits grown in Central and South America — and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola.

Read More Show Less
Investing in grid infrastructure would enable utilities to incorporate modern technology, making the grid more resilient and flexible. STRATMAN2 / FLICKR

By Elliott Negin

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn't have smartphones or electric cars. But it's their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.

Read More Show Less