Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oahu Shark Tour Bill - Banning 40,000 Tourists

Editors note: Here is the official anti-shark diving ordinance that will be voted on in Oahu very soon. It will effectively shut down two operations that, for the past decade, have introduced 40,000 shark cage diving tourists each year to Hawaii's sharks.

Safely, sustainably, and without incident.

12 tons of sharks fin representing over 8200 dead sharks per container are processed in Hawaii each week and have done so for the past 17 years. Sharks that are harvested in the same waters the two North Shore operators work in, 3 miles from Hawaii's coastlines.

Many of these "overseas shark fins" are in fact Hawaiian sharks, caught within sight line of the tropical white sand coasts millions of tourists flock to each year.

A loophole in Hawaii's laws, killing sharks for fins, while council members in Oahu work to ban sustainable shark tourism operators that represent the best of sustainable tourism practices.

This is the true face of Hawaii's shark world, debunking the myth being put forward that, "The council further finds that sharks have great cultural, historical, and spiritual significance for many Native Hawaiians."

Where are you going to spend your next vacation?


BE IT ORDAINED by the People of the City and County of Honolulu:

SECTION 1. Findings and purpose. The council finds that the oceans are used by city residents and visitors for numerous aquatic activities, including fishing, boating, swimming, surfing, canoe paddling, and snorkeling. The council further finds that sharks have great cultural, historical, and spiritual significance for many Native Hawaiians. The council believes that shark tours, the practice of charging residents and visitors to venture into ocean waters to view sharks attracted by fish feeding, raises public safety concerns for ocean users, is disrespectful of Hawaiian culture, alters the natural behavior and distribution of sharks, and may be disruptive of ocean ecology and the natural environment. The purpose of this ordinance is to ban shark tour operations.

SECTION 2. Chapter 40, Revised Ordinances of Honolulu 1990, ("Prohibited Activities in the City") is amended by adding a new article to be appropriately designated by the revisor of ordinances and to read as follows:

"Article ___. Shark Tour Operations

Sec. 40-__.1 Definitions.

As used in this article:

"Fish feeding" means to introduce or attempt to introduce into the ocean water any food or other substance for consumption by fish.

"Shark tour operations" means the maintenance of an office, the collection of a fee or other financial consideration, the distribution, marketing, or advertising of tickets for sale, or the conduct of any other business activity conducted by a person for the purpose of enabling customers to venture into ocean waters to view sharks attracted by fish feeding; provided that this term does not include educational or cultural expeditions or endeavors for which a fee is not required.

Sec. 40-__.2 Prohibition.

It is unlawful for any person to engage in shark tour operations.

Sec. 40-__.3 Violation—Penalty.

Any person who violates this article shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year or both.”

SECTION 3. This ordinance shall take effect upon its approval.



Honolulu, Hawaii Councilmembers


Deputy Corporation Counsel

APPROVED this day of , 20 .

City and County of Honolulu

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