On the first day of the year, January 1st, 2022, Hawaii became the first state in the US to enact a ban on shark fishing. House Bill 553 bill was first passed last year and under the new legislation, and now it is a misdemeanor to knowingly capture, entangle, or kill a shark in state marine waters.
“Our department is well aware of how important sharks are to maintain healthy marine ecosystems,” said Division of Aquatic Resources Administrator Brian Neilson in a statement. “And we recognize their importance for native Hawaiian cultural practices and beliefs.”
Those exempt from the law have special activity permits based on “native Hawaiian cultural protocol, size and species restrictions, and a prohibition on species listed as endangered or threatened,” and that are issued by the Department of Land and Resources (DLNR). Another exemption is if an individual must kill a shark in self-defense as a matter of public safety.
Violators of the law will face a $500 fine for a first offense, which jumps up to $2,000 for a second, and $10,000 for a third. There are also administrative fines of up to $10,000 per shark captured or entangled and forfeiture of any captured sharks, commercial marine licenses, vessels, and fishing equipment.
Every year, an estimated 100 million sharks are killed by human activity, and the protection of these apex predators is crucial for the health and vitality of the ocean’s ecosystems.