Sharks are apex predator. They maintain balance of biodiversity and resource availability. They also keep the carbon cycle in motion. Yet humans kill around 100 to 273 million sharks every year, while sharks kill less than 10 people per year. These numbers are clearly outrageous. In Hawaii, House Bill 808 which outlaws the intentional killing, capture, abuse or entanglement of sharks and rays in state marine waters was introduced in January and just passed it’s first House Committee!

The bill was introduced by Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee, and state Representative Nicole Lowen, chair of the House Environmental Protection and Energy Committee. The goal is for the proposal to become law. It would penalize those who kill sharks and rays. The first offense would be a $500 fine and the third would be $10,000.

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Unfortunately, there will be exceptions for research, cultural practices and public safety. However, if this becomes law, Hawaii would be the first state to have such laws that protect these marine animals!

Representative Lowen says, “As apex predators, sharks and rays help to keep the ocean ecosystem in balance, and protecting them from unnecessary harm is essential to the health of our coral reefs. I’m hopeful that this year will be the year that we are able to take this important step.” Senator Gabbard added, “Sharks (mano) and Rays (hihimanu) are key marine species, important to the resiliency of our oceans. They deserve full protection under law from unnecessary killing or exploitation.”

Show your support for House Bill 808 by signing a petition!

To learn more about sharks, check out Why Humans Need SharksWhy Sharks Should Not Be Culled to Protect Surfers, and The Amazing 21 Year Old Who Has Devoted Her Life to Fighting for Sharks.

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