Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Honolulu Council Bill - Shark Tour Ban

The anti-shark diving movement is in full swing in Hawaii with a new ban on shark tours in Maui and now copy cat legislation in Oahu.

Make no bones about it, this is a well planned and executed attack on two operations representing 40,000 shark tourist per year on the North Shore of Hawaii.

We have covered this ongoing political debacle since it first broke, uncovering the political players as they appear, countering the shark fear hype presented by the anti-shark diving folks.

The commercial shark diving issue in Hawaii is not about the following:

1. Sacred Hawaiian sharks
2. Water safety
3. Shark attacks

It is about political grandstanding, short term thinking, and a successful anti-shark fear based media campaign.

Here's where you can help. The following emails need to hear from your voice today. Please make them aware that 40,000 shark tourists each year in Oahu represents a political hot topic, no politician wants to be the "tourism killer" in the worst tourism economy since the great depression in Hawaii.

Honolulu City and County Council Members

Todd K. Apo (808) 768-5001

Donovan M. Dela Cruz (808) 768-5002

Ikaika Anderson (808) 768-5003

Charles K. Djou (808) 768-5004

Ann Kobayashi (808) 768-5005

Rod Tam (808) 768-5006

Romy M. Cachola (808) 768-5007

Gary H. Okino (808) 768-5008

Nestor R. Garcia (808) 768-5009

Dear Council Member,

I am writing on behalf of North Shore Shark Adventures and Hawaii Shark Encounters based on the North Shore of Hawaii.

Both of these operations represent 40,000 shark tourists each and every year to your island. Both have been in business for close to a decade representing the finest example of sustainable and safe eco tourism operations.

I am sure you are aware of a recent shark study done by the University of Hawaii that indicates the animals of the North Shore do not follow these vessels back into shore as has been alleged. There is no man made shark safety issue with current shark tourism operations in Oahu as has been the case for close to a decade.

Your decision to ban shark tours will shut out 40,000 tourists from the North Shore. While Maui has banned shark tourism they have also provided Oahu with an unexpected boost to it's local economy. Tourists do not like to be shut out from tourism opportunities.

An adventure tourism seeker will choose Oahu over Maui knowing they can dive with sharks safely and sustainably when presented with this ban. This is an unexpected "tourism opportunity" handed to you by Maui that you can support or destroy with your vote.

Shark tourism represents a $300 million dollar global industry. When short sighted local governments in Florida banned shark tourism in 2001, Bahamas shark tourism quickly grew to a $70 million dollar a year juggernaut. Adventure tourism seekers represent the fastest growing segment of the global tourism market.These tourism seekers typically vote with their wallets.

Consider your vote in this matter carefully. The world is watching what Oahu does with this proposed shark ban. Will Oahu be known as the island that understood all aspects of tourism or the island that was lead by unsubstantiated fear based shark hysteria into destroying successful and safe shark tourism?

Do you want to be known as the politician who drove 40,000 shark tourists to other global tourism destinations outside of Hawaii?

Thank you for your consideration,

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