Saturday, February 8, 2014

Do you want to save the sharks in Hawaii?

Lately we all heard of Western Australia's controversial shark cull policy, supposedly intended to save lives and help the tourism industry. So how is Hawaii dealing with the sharks that frequent the waters surrounding the islands? Are they using a similar approach?Shark Diving, swimming with sharks, cage diving, shark research, diving with Great white sharks, are specialties of Shark Diver
Hmmm, not quite! Their approach is a tiny bit different, instead of culling sharks they are considering penalties for harming sharks! You can read the full text of the proposed bill here. Since this bill has not been passed yet, they need your help.  You can tell them why you support the bill here,  OMHTestimony@capitol.hawaii.govEco tourism, Isla Guadalupe, Tiger Sharks, Galapagos Island, Whale sharks
The reasons mentioned, for wanting to implement penalties for harming sharks are,

SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that sharks and rays are extremely important to ocean ecosystems.  As ocean predators towards the top of the food chain, sharks and rays keep the ecosystem balanced, regulate populations of other marine life, and ensure healthy fish stock and reefs.

Sharks and rays are more vulnerable to fishing pressures than most other fish species.  They are long-lived, slow-growing, start reproducing at an advanced age, and produce relatively few offspring per year.  If over-fished, these populations take a long time to recover.  If the food chain is disrupted by a decline in the shark population, it affects the entire reef system.  Protection for sharks and rays ultimately means healthier, more resilient oceans and reefs that are better able to withstand other pressures on the ocean ecosystem from climate change and pollution.

Sharks and rays on the reefs not only play important ecological roles but are also valued figures in Hawaiian culture and are important economically to ocean recreation industries and to tourism in Hawaii.  The benefits of maintaining viable populations greatly outweigh any value that would be gained by killing these species.

The purpose of this Act is to protect these species for ecological purposes, for their value to the ocean recreation industry and to native Hawaiian cultural practices, and to establish fines and penalties for knowingly harming, killing, or capturing sharks or rays within state waters.

Again, it's important to note, that this is only a proposed bill and has not been passed yet. Don't forget to support the bill by sending your comments to OMHTestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov

Let's help those legislators who are fighting for our oceans and all the creatures living in it!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

3 comments:

Al Brenneka said...

We shark attack survivors did ask for a clause to be added. When a shark is attached to someone many times the victim and their rescuers have to injure the shark to get free. You can't fine someone fighting for their life because they injured a shark to save their life. I know it sounds ridiculous, but some shark people are a little ridiculous.

Shark Diver said...

I didn't think of that. It never occurred to me that self defense would not be legal under that bill.

Al Brenneka said...

We sent an email to every house member and senate member. Several senate members did assure us if the bill ever gets to the senate a self defense clause will be added. We do hope such a clause will not be abused by those trying to beat a fine.