Will Hawaii Ban Purposeful Killing and Abuse of 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."
Swimming with #Ohana #Family Today was a WIN for SHARKS in HAWAII 😍🦈🎉🦈🎉🦈🎉🦈 The bill to ban the purposeful killing… https://t.co/hdLYTCB2NU— Ocean Ramsey (@Ocean Ramsey)1549526768.0
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."
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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