Quantcast

Gillnet Fishing Blamed for Killing Up to 100 Baby Hammerhead Sharks in Honolulu

Animals

Up to 100 hammerhead shark pups were found dead Tuesday morning near Keehi Lagoon in Honolulu. Experts suggested that gillnet fishing could be the culprit.

Authorities at the state's Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement have opened an investigation after the baby sharks were discovered by the La Mariana Sailing Club, according to local media.


The Keehi Lagoon is known as a breeding ground for hammerhead sharks, but state officials said it is not natural for shark pups to be found ashore in such large numbers, the Star Advertiser reported.

Andrew Rossiter, director of the Waikiki Aquarium, told Honolulu's KHON that the young sharks were probably caught in a gillnet and then dumped on land by a fisherman.

"To breathe they have to keep moving, so once they're in the net for even two to three minutes, they're unable to breathe and they suffocate," he explained.

Rossiter said the state should have tougher laws to prevent such killings.

"When it's the pupping season and it's a pupping area, then maybe they should restrict or ban the use of gillnets just for a couple of weeks to give them a chance," he said.

Democrat Hawaii state Sen. Mike Gabbard, who co-sponsored a bill to ban synthetic gillnets, was devastated by the news.

"I'm sick to my stomach about what's happened today," Gabbard told KHON-TV. "It's really giving me the incentive to make sure that this bill gets passed in 2019."

The bill passed in the state Senate but has stalled in the House.

Gillnet fishing has been found to be destructive to fish populations and to other marine species that get caught as bycatch, particularly sharks. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found roughly half of the sharks that are caught and sold were caught as bycatch in the high seas longline fisheries. Each year, tens of millions of sharks are caught as bycatch, according to estimates.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pro-environment demonstrators on the streets of Washington, DC during the Jan. 20, 2017 Trump inauguration. Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky

One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.

Read More
Mt. Rainier and Reflection Lake on Sept. 10, 2015. Crystal Geyser planned to open a bottling plant near Mt. Rainier, emails show. louelke - on and off / Flickr

Bottled water manufacturers looking to capture cool, mountain water from Washington's Cascade Mountains may have to look elsewhere after the state senate passed a bill banning new water permits, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Large storage tank of Ammonia at a fertilizer plant in Cubatão, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Luis Veiga / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.

Read More
At high tide, people are forced off parts of the pathway surrounding DC's Tidal Basin. Andrew Bossi / Wikimedia

By Sarah Kennedy

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.

But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.

Read More
Lioness displays teeth during light rainstorm in Kruger National Park, South Africa. johan63 / iStock / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Ahead of government negotiations scheduled for next week on a global plan to address the biodiversity crisis, 23 former foreign ministers from various countries released a statement on Tuesday urging world leaders to act "boldly" to protect nature.

Read More