Shark Finning Prohibited

Strictly limits the possession, purchase, sale, or trade of
shark fins.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
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 seven-to-twelve years of age and then only
18 give birth to a small litter of young.  Thus, sharks cannot
19 rebuild their populations quickly once they are overfished.
20      About one hundred thousand sharks (two thousand metric tons)

Page 2                                                     1706
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2

 1 are taken each year by Hawaii-based longliners.   Data from log
 2 books and observers indicate approximately sixty per cent are
 3 finned, that means once caught, the fins are removed, and the
 4 carcasses are discarded.  These fins are landed in Hawaii as
 5 unreported, untaxed catch.  An additional one hundred fifty
 6 thousand metric tons of shark are taken elsewhere in the Pacific,
 7 primarily for their fins, and a large quantity of those fins are
 8 transhipped unreported and untaxed into and through the State.
 9      The legislature finds shark finning to be a wasteful and
10 inhumane practice, and the landing of unreported shark fins
11 contributes little if anything to the economy of this State.  The
12 purpose of this Act is to prevent the practice of shark finning
13 by requiring that sharks be landed whole.
14      SECTION 2.  Chapter 188, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
15 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
16 read as follows:
17      "188-     Sharks; prohibitions; administrative penalties.
18 (a)  No person shall knowingly harvest for sale, possess for
19 sale, buy, sell, or trade shark fins unless the fins were taken
20 from a shark landed whole in the State.  As used in this
21 subsection:
22      "Landed" means off-loaded in the State.
23      "Shark fin" means the fin of a shark with the shark carcass

Page 3                                                     1706
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2

 1 removed.
 2      "Whole" means the entire shark is landed with its head,
 3 tail, and flesh intact.
 4      (b)  Any person violating this section or any rule adopted
 5 thereunder shall be subject to forfeiture of shark fins, license,
 6 vessel, and fishing equipment, and an administrative fine of not
 7 less than $5,000 and not more than $15,000, and may be assessed
 8 administrative fees and costs, and attorney's fees and costs.
 9      (c)  Any criminal prosecution or penalty imposed for
10 violation of this section or any rule adopted thereunder shall
11 not preclude forfeiture pursuant to section 199-7, or the
12 imposition of any administrative fines and costs or attorney's
13 fees and costs under this section."
14      SECTION 3.  Section 187A-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
15 amended by adding two new definitions to be appropriately
16 inserted and to read as follows:
17      ""Harvest" means the taking and retaining of any part of a
18 marine organism by any means whatsoever.
19      "Shark" means any member of the class Chondrichthyes,
20 including but not limited to: inshore species of galapagos shark
21 (Carcharhinus galapagensis), reef blacktip shark (Carcharhinus
22 melanopterus), gray reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos), big-
23 nosed shark (Carcharhinus altimus), tiger shark (Galeocerdo

Page 4                                                     1706
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2

 1 cuvier), blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus), smooth
 2 hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena), reef whitetip shark
 3 (Triaenodon obesus), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini),
 4 sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), offshore species of white
 5 shark (Carcharodon carcharias), shortfin mako shark (Isurus
 6 oxyrinchus), silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), blue shark
 7 (Prionace glauca), whale shark (Rhincodon typus), thresher shark
 8 (Alopias vulpinus), oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus
 9 longimanus), cookie cutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis), and
10 megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios)."
11      SECTION 4.  This Act does not affect rights and duties that
12 matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were
13 begun before its effective date.
14      SECTION 5.  New statutory material is underscored.
15      SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.