Friday, August 5 2022

HONOLULU (KHON2) – The act of knowingly capturing, entangling or killing any species of shark in Hawaii will be prohibited effective Saturday, January 1, 2022, which is detailed in Law 51 (House Bill 533).

According to Law 51 (House Bill 533), sharks maintain the balance of the ocean ecosystem by regulating and ensuring the health of other marine populations and reefs.

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The purpose of the ban is to “protect sharks for their ecological value without criminalizing the accidental capture and release of sharks that may be caught while fishing for other species, as permitted by law or rule,” as indicated in Law 51 (House Bill 533).

“We are well aware of the importance of sharks in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems. We also recognize their importance in Native Hawaiian cultural practices and beliefs.

Brian Neilson, administrator of the Aquatic Resources Division of DLNR, in a statement on Thursday, December 30.

The new shark fishing ban does not apply to the following:

  • Persons holding a special activity permit issued by the Department of Lands and Natural Resources (DLNR);
  • Shark fishing for public safety purposes authorized and/or practiced by the DLNR;
  • Sharks taken outside of Hawaiian marine waters with required documentation;
  • Sharks caught, entangled and/or killed due to self-defense or the defense of another individual;
  • Sharks caught or killed on the basis of a permit issued by the DLNR.

Law 51 (House Bill 533) states that violations of the new law will be considered a misdemeanor and may result in fines: $500 for the first offense; $2,000 for the second offence; $10,000 for the third and subsequent violations, among many other penalties.

For more information on sharks in Hawaiian waters, click here.

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Additionally, a non-commercial permit to take sharks may be issued by the DLNR based on Hawaiian cultural protocol, size and species restrictions, and the prohibition of endangered or threatened species.

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