Thursday, October 8, 2009
Hawaii Shark Diving - Shark Diving Bill "Thrown Out"
"FYI, The bill (banning commercial shark diving in Oahu) was thrown out and deferred to state."
Proving that Hawaii City Council members are not the same as those in Maui, Council members decided, after receiving an unprecedented amount of interest in the form of letters, emails, Op-Eds, and phone calls about commercial shark diving on Oahu to kill the issue before them and "punt it" back up to the state level and Rep Gene Wards office.
To refresh your memory the ongoing saga over the fate of commercial shark diving looks like this, dates are approximate:
1. March-2009 Rogue commercial shark diving operation decides to open cage diving operations Hawaii Kai neighbourhood and kicks off a political brush fire.
2. April-2009 Incorrectly sensing a political gain, Rep Gene Ward uses this regional back lash to propose legislation to prohibit all shark diving in Hawaii.
3. April-2009 Several dubious and linked anti-shark diving websites spring up with loose ties to Cyber Diver Network, and Rep Gene Wards office.
4. May-2009 Long term U of H shark study by Carl Meyer et al shows sharks that are being interacted with 3 miles off shore are not habituating to vessels and following them back into shore as was charged by Rep Wards "Shark Taskforce." Wards office decides to ignore and discredit the study as bogus science, stirring up further controversy.
4. August-2009 Meetings are held with the commercial operators and Rep Gene Ward, pressure in the form of pro-shark diving business owners call Wards office, the theme of "it's the economy stupid" resonates.
5. August-2009 Maui City Council members watching Rep Gene Wards grandstanding, decide to ban shark diving. Shark diving that does not exists on Maui at this time. As one person states "they might as well ban time travel as well."
6. September-2009 Maui's bill passes.
7. September-2009 Rep Gene Ward, sensing a hard political fight over the commercial shark diving issue, punts local issue of banning cage diving on Oahu down to Oahu City Council members.
8. September-2009 Oahu City Council members propose bill, receive sharp backlash from community, they quickly realize this is a "no win" bill on many levels.
9. October-2009 Oahu City Council members throw bill out and refer the entire issue of commercial shark diving and the fate of 40,000 seasonal shark diving tourists back to the state.
10. October-2009 Saga continues.