Action Needed! OPPOSE HB 553: Threatens local fishers and will not protect sharks

Please OPPOSE Bill HB 553: Threatens local fishers and will not protect sharks

PLease submit your testimony in your own words here: “Immediately” must be submitted no later then Tuesday March 16, 2021, 1:00 pm.

Talking points for testimony against HB553 copy and paste one or more below with your testimony. This Bill has made cross over with strong support from the enviro’s. Remember each and every testimony submitted counts, let’s all do our part!

 There has been no meaningful consultation with the fishing community. This bill is being rammed down our throats by people who don’t fish. Fishers should be given a fair chance to shape legislation that will directly impact them.  Community hearings should be held before this kind of legislation is considered.

–       The bill is unenforceable and creates legal jeopardy for local fishers.  All fishing methods used to target sharks can be legitimately used to catch other species of fish so it would be impossible to prove that sharks were being specifically targeted.  Fishers who accidentally capture sharks could not be distinguished from those targeting sharks.  This puts local fishers at risk of unfair prosecution.

–       DLNR has testified that it lacks the resources required to enforce this type of legislation: “A dedicated marine patrol, which was discontinued due to staff shortages, would be required to effectively enforce ocean regulations, including those contained in this measure. Reactivating the DOCARE marine patrol would require at least five positions that would be solely dedicated to patrolling and enforcing Department regulations by boat.”

–       This bill is unnecessary because Hawaii coastal shark populations are healthy and already well-protected.  Fishing is already banned in two-thirds of the Hawaiian chain (Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument) and there are no commercial fisheries for coastal sharks anywhere in Hawaii.  Coastal shark meat is not sold in Hawaii (due to long-term lack of demand) and shark finning is already banned under existing laws.  The decline in global shark populations is primarily due to industrial high seas fishing or intensive targeted fishing for coastal sharks – neither of which applies to Hawaii.

–       This bill threatens ongoing tag and release programs.  Local fishers have been tagging and releasing bycaught sharks to help us understand post-release survival rates.  There is no provision for them to continue doing this under HB 553.