Shark Finning Prohibited

Imposes a bag limit of one shark per day, per person.  Prohibits
the possession, purchase, sale, or trade of shark fins.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.1706       
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                     A BILL FOR AN ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the vast ocean area
 2 surrounding the State of Hawaii has historically contained
 3 bountiful natural resources and productive fisheries that have
 4 had great commercial, recreational, social, cultural, and
 5 sustenance values to Hawaii's people.  Many of these fisheries
 6 are now in decline and in critical need of effective conservation
 7 and management measures to prevent further decline and to create
 8 a pattern of sustainable use for future generations.  One of the
 9 fisheries that has shown the most urgent need for conservation
10 and management is the shark fishery.
11      Sharks are one of the top predators in the marine food chain
12 and play an important role in our ocean's ecosystem.  Sharks have
13 characteristics that make them more vulnerable to overfishing
14 than most fish, and data from state, federal, and international
15 agencies show a decline in the shark populations both locally and
16 worldwide.  Unlike other fish species, most sharks do not reach
17 sexual maturity until 7-12 years of age and then only give birth
18 to a small litter of young.  Thus, sharks cannot rebuild their
19 populations quickly once they are overfished.

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                                     H.B. NO.1706       

 1      About 100,000 sharks (2,000 metric tons) are taken each year
 2 by Hawaii-based longliners.   Data from log books and observers
 3 indicate approximately sixty per cent are finned, that is,
 4 caught, their fins removed, and their carcasses discarded.  These
 5 fins are landed in Hawaii as unreported, untaxed catch.  An
 6 additional 150,000 metric tons of shark are taken elsewhere in
 7 the Pacific, primarily for their fins, and a large quantity of
 8 those fins are transhipped unreported and untaxed into and
 9 through the State.
10      Shark fins sell for up to $50 a pound in the international
11 shark fin market. It is estimated that some $30 million dollars
12 worth of shark fin flows through the State each year.  Although
13 the National Marine Fisheries Service considers sharks taken for
14 fins as incidental catch, not bycatch, since part of the shark is
15 used, the waste involved in the practice of shark finning offends
16 many native Hawaiians and other indigenous peoples of the
17 Pacific.
18      The legislature finds shark finning to be a wasteful and
19 inhumane practice, and the landing of unreported shark fins
20 contributes little if anything to the economy of this state.  The
21 purpose of this Act is to prohibit the possession with intent to
22 sell, or sale of shark fins, and to limit the number of whole
23 sharks that can be caught and retained to one shark per person
24 per day.

Page 3                                                     
                                     H.B. NO.1706       

 1      SECTION 2.  Chapter 188, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 2 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
 3 read as follows:
 4      "188-     Sharks; prohibitions; administrative penalties.
 5 (a)  No person shall harvest more than one shark per day.
 6      (b)  No person shall knowingly harvest for sale, possess for
 7 sale, buy, sell, or trade shark fins.
 8      (c)  Any person violating this section or any rule adopted
 9 thereunder is subject to an administrative fine of not less than
10 $5,000 and not more than $15,000, and may be assessed
11 administrative fees and costs, and attorney's fees and costs.
12      (d)  Any criminal prosecution or penalty imposed for
13 violation of this section or any rule adopted thereunder shall
14 not preclude forfeiture pursuant to section 199-7, or the
15 imposition of any administrative fines and costs or attorney's
16 fees and costs under this section."
17      SECTION 3.  Section 187A-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
18 amended by adding two new definitions, to be appropriately
19 inserted and to read as follows:
20      ""Harvest" means the taking and retaining of any part of a
21 marine organism by any means whatsoever.
22      "Shark" means any member of the class Chondrichthyes,
23 including but not limited to: galapagos shark (Carcharhinus

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                                     H.B. NO.1706       

 1 galapagensis), reef blacktip shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus),
 2 gray reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), big-nosed shark
 3 (Carcharhinus altimus), tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), blacktip
 4 shark (Carcharhinus limbatus), smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna
 5 zygaena), reef whitetip shark (Triaenodon obesus), scalloped
 6 hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), sandbar shark (Carcharhinus
 7 plumbeus), white shark (Carcharodon carcharias), shortfin mako
 8 shark (Isurus oxyrinchus), silky shark (Carcharhinus
 9 falciformis), blue shark (Prionace glauca), whale shark
10 (Rhincodon typus), thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus), oceanic
11 whitetip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus), cookie cutter shark
12 (Isistius brasiliensis), and megamouth shark (Megachasma
13 pelagios).
14      "Shark fin" means the fin of the shark with the shark
15 carcass removed."
16      SECTION 3.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
17 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
18 begun before its effective date.
19      SECTION 4.  New statutory material is underscored.
20      SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
22                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________