Shark Finning Prohibited

Strictly limits the possession, purchase, sale, or trade of
shark fins. (HB1947 HD1)

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

                     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. 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 transhipped 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 be landed whole.
16      SECTION 2.  Chapter 188, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
17 by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to
18 read as follows:
19      "188-     Sharks; prohibitions; administrative penalties.
20 (a)  No person shall knowingly harvest for sale, possess for
21 sale, buy, sell, or trade shark fins unless the fins were taken
22 from a shark landed whole in the State.  As used in this
23 subsection:

Page 3                                                     1947 
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1        

 1      "Landed" means when the animal is first brought to shore.
 2      "Shark fin" means the raw or dried fin of a shark with the
 3 shark carcass removed.
 4      "Whole" means the entire shark with its head and flesh
 5 intact, allowing for the removal of the blood, internal organs,
 6 and tail at sea.
 7      (b)  Any person violating this section or any rule adopted
 8 thereunder shall be subject to:
 9      (1)  Seizure and forfeiture of shark fins, commercial marine
10           license, vessel, and fishing equipment; and
11      (2)  An administrative fine of not less than $5,000 and not
12           more than $15,000.  In addition, the violator may be
13           assessed administrative fees and costs, and attorney's
14           fees and costs.
15      (c)  Any criminal prosecution or penalty imposed for
16 violation of this section or any rule adopted thereunder shall
17 not preclude seizure and forfeiture pursuant to chapter 712A, or
18 the imposition of any administrative fines and costs or
19 attorney's fees and costs under this section."
20      SECTION 3.  Section 187A-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
21 amended by adding two new definitions to be appropriately
22 inserted and to read as follows:
23      ""Harvest" means the taking and retaining of marine life by
24 any means whatsoever.

Page 4                                                     1947 
                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 1        

 1      "Shark" means any member of the class Chondrichthyes,
 2 including but not limited to:  inshore species of galapagos shark
 3 (Carcharhinus galapagensis), reef blacktip shark (Carcharhinus
 4 melanopterus), gray reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos),
 5 big-nosed shark (Carcharhinus altimus), tiger shark (Galeocerdo
 6 cuvier), blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus), smooth
 7 hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena), reef whitetip shark
 8 (Triaenodon obesus), scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini),
 9 sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus), offshore species of white
10 shark (Carcharodon carcharias), shortfin mako shark (Isurus
11 oxyrinchus), silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis), blue shark
12 (Prionace glauca), whale shark (Rhincodon typus), thresher shark
13 (Alopias vulpinus), oceanic whitetip shark (Carcharhinus
14 longimanus), cookie cutter shark (Isistius brasiliensis), and
15 megamouth shark (Megachasma pelagios)."
16      SECTION 4.  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 5.  New statutory material is underscored.
20      SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.