The islands of Hawaii are known for their beautiful beaches and surrounding waters full of marine life. Teeming reefs and crystal waters host over 400 species of fish and 40 types of shark. To preserve the ocean's biodiversity for the next generation, measures must be implemented where needed. Hawaii has taken an important conservation step by banning shark fishing in state waters— a measure which went into effect in early 2022.
State lawmakers in Hawaii passed the bill known as House Bill 553 in 2021 but the measure only came into force in the new year. The act protects all shark species in state waters. It is now a misdemeanor to “knowingly capture, entangle, or kill a shark in state marine waters.” Brian Neilson, Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator, said in a statement, “Our Department is well aware of how important sharks are to maintain healthy marine ecosystems. And we recognize their importance for native Hawaiian cultural practices and beliefs.”
Self-defense against the marine predators will still be legal, and further regulations will be promulgated to ensure accidental captures do not trigger the new law. Special permits to fish for sharks will also be issued on approval, considering “native Hawaiian cultural protocol, size and species restrictions, and a prohibition on species listed as endangered or threatened.” A new administrative scheme based on House Bill 553 also may regulate the fishing gear allowed in shark breeding areas. For now, fishermen are advised to avoid areas frequented by sharks and cut them loose if accidentally snared. Violations of the law can result in fines of $10,000 or more, so you could say this is a conservation law with teeth.
Hawaii's state government has banned shark fishing in state waters, although permits will be available for certain activities.
h/t: [World Animal News]