Shark Finning; Prohibited

Strictly limits the harvesting and landing of shark fins.
Applies only to vessels that off-load cargo in the State or its
territorial waters.  (HB1947 CD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2000                                S.D. 2
STATE OF HAWAII                                            C.D. 1

                     A BILL FOR AN ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the vast ocean area
 2 surrounding the State has historically contained bountiful
 3 natural resources and productive fisheries that have had great
 4 commercial, recreational, social, cultural, and sustenance values
 5 to Hawaii's people.  Many of these fisheries are now in decline
 6 and in critical need of effective conservation and management
 7 measures to prevent further decline and to create a pattern of
 8 sustainable use for future generations.  One of the fisheries
 9 that has shown the most urgent need for conservation and
10 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.

Page 2                                                     1947
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1      About one hundred thousand sharks (two thousand metric tons)
 2 are taken each year by Hawaii-based longliners.  Data from log
 3 books and observers indicate that eighty-six per cent of the
 4 shark are alive when brought to the boat but are killed just for
 5 their fins; approximately sixty per cent are then finned.  That
 6 means once caught, the fins are removed, and the carcasses are
 7 discarded.  These fins are landed in Hawaii as unreported,
 8 untaxed catch.  An additional one hundred fifty metric tons of
 9 shark fins are taken elsewhere in the Pacific, and are then
10 transshipped unreported and untaxed into and through the State.
11      The legislature finds shark finning to be a wasteful and
12 inhumane practice, and the landing of unreported shark fins
13 contributes little if anything to the economy of this State.  The
14 purpose of this Act is to prevent the practice of shark finning
15 by requiring that sharks caught in the territorial waters of the
16 State be landed whole.
17      SECTION 2.  Chapter 188, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
18 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
19 read as follows:
20      "188-     Sharks; prohibitions; administrative penalties.
21 (a)  No person shall knowingly harvest shark fins from the
22 territorial waters of the State, or land shark fins in the State,
23 unless the fins were taken from a shark landed whole in the
24 State.

Page 3                                                     1947
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1      (b)  Any person violating this section or any rule adopted
 2 thereunder shall be subject to:
 3      (1)  Seizure and forfeiture of shark fins, commercial marine
 4           license, vessel, and fishing equipment; and
 5      (2)  An administrative fine of not less than $5,000 and not
 6           more than $15,000.  In addition, the violator may be
 7           assessed administrative fees and costs, and attorney's
 8           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 seizure and forfeiture pursuant to chapter 712A, or
12 the imposition of any administrative fines and costs or
13 attorney's fees and costs under this section.
14      (d)  This section shall apply to the following vessels when
15 fishing outside the territorial waters of the State:
16      (1)  Vessels that hold a fishing license or permit issued by
17           the State as a prerequisite to participation in the
18           fishery, or that have owners or captains who hold a
19           fishing license or permit issued by the State as a
20           prerequisite to participation in the fishery;
21      (2)  Vessels that are registered under section 200-31; or
22      (3)  Vessels with federal documentation that lists as a
23           homeport a location within the State;

Page 4                                                     1947
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

 1 provided that the enforcement of this section on these vessels
 2 outside the territorial waters of the State shall not apply if
 3 enforcement of this section is in violation of, or in conflict
 4 with, federal law.
 5      (e)  Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, this section
 6 shall apply only to vessels that off-load cargo in the State or
 7 its territorial waters.
 8      (f)  As used in this section:
 9      "Land" or "landed" means when the shark or any part thereof
10 is first brought to shore.
11      "Shark fin" means the raw or dried fin of a shark with the
12 shark carcass removed.
13      "Whole" means the entire shark with its head and flesh
14 intact, allowing for the removal of the blood, internal organs,
15 and tail at sea."
16      SECTION 3.  Section 187A-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
17 amended by adding two new definitions to be appropriately
18 inserted and to read as follows:
19      ""Harvest" means the taking and retaining of marine life by
20 any means whatsoever.
21      "Shark" means any member of the class Chondrichthyes,
22 including but not limited to:  inshore species of galapagos shark
23 (Carcharhinus galapagensis), reef blacktip shark (Carcharhinus

Page 5                                                     1947
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 2
                                                        C.D. 1

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