06 April 2010

HSUS shows gratitude for Hawaii Judiciary Committee passage of Shark bill

Hawaii’s House Judiciary Committee passed a bill last week that would combat the brutal practice of shark-finning and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) along with environmental groups Shark Allies and the Sierra Club praise the passage but now urge the full House to do the same. The bill, SB 2169, would “prohibit the sale, possession or distribution of shark fins and fin products.”

What is shark finning exactly? It’s the practice of cutting off a shark’s fins then tossing the animal sans fins back into the water where most sink to the bottom of the ocean and die. Those who do not drown or starve fall prey to other oceanic predatorial species. Estimations place shark deaths due to finning between 100 to 200 million per year.

The legislation that would put a stop to this horrible activity has been championed by Sen. Clayton Hee, a Democrat representing Hawaii’s 23rd district who also serves as the chairman of the Senate’s Higher Education Committee.

"Thanks to Representative Karamatsu and his committee, Hawaii has the opportunity to lead our country internationally in helping to balance the world's ecology and environment by ceasing the senseless slaughter of one of the greatest predators of the world's ocean," said Senator Hee. "Sharks have a very unique and distinguished presence in Hawaiian culture as family guardians who protect us from harm as our 'aumakua'. This effort acknowledges and pays respect to that special recognition by everyone in Hawaii."

"Hawaii is internationally renowned for its treasured marine life. We send our deepest gratitude to Senator Hee and House Judiciary Chair Jon Riki Karamatsu for their leadership on this ground-breaking measure which would rightfully make Hawaii the nation's leader in shark and ocean protection," said Hawaii state director for The HSUS, Inga Gibson.

The bill now moves onto the full House for a vote.

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Photo Credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/rling