STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1650
RE: H.B. No. 553
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 553, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF SHARKS,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Establish the offense of intentionally and knowingly capturing, entangling, or killing a shark in state marine waters, and provide penalties and fines;
(2) Provide certain exemptions; and
(3) Allow the Department of Land and Natural Resources to establish rules to achieve certain objectives.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Animal Rights Hawai‘i, Save the Sea Turtles International, Moana ‘Ohana, Hawai‘i Reef and Ocean Coalition, Clean the Pacific, The Humane Society of the United States, Center for Biological Diversity, Pacific Whale Foundation, Keiko Conservation, a petition signed by sixteen organizations, and fifty-one individuals. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Native Hawaiian Gathering Rights Association; Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition, Inc; and sixteen individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Hawai‘i Institute of Marine Biology.
Your Committees find that sharks are extremely important to ocean ecosystems because they keep the ecosystem balanced, regulate populations of other marine life, and ensure healthy fish stock and reefs. Your Committees further find that article XI, section 1, of the Hawaii State Constitution provides that the State "shall conserve and protect Hawai‘i's natural beauty and all natural resources". This measure will provide protection for sharks by establishing and expanding prohibitions against intentionally or knowingly capturing or killing them.
Your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Removing references to subsistence fishing from the purpose section;
(2) Changing the required state of mind for the offense to intentionally or knowingly;
(3) Clarifying the exemption for acts of self defense or defense of another;
(4) Clarifying that the rulemaking authority of the Department of Land and Natural Resources is not limited to the listed policy goals;
(5) Clarifying that the incidental capture and release of sharks is not criminalized; and
(6) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 553, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 553, H.D. 2, S.D. 2.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means,
DONOVAN M. DELA CRUZ, Chair
KARL RHOADS, Chair