Shark fishing to be banned in state marine waters beginning January 1

Officials said it will be illegal to knowingly capture, entangle, or kill any species of shark...
Officials said it will be illegal to knowingly capture, entangle, or kill any species of shark in state marine waters.(Isaac Brumagham)
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 11:13 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is banning shark fishing beginning Jan. 1.

Officials said it will be illegal to knowingly capture, entangle or kill any species of shark in state marine waters.

DLNR said sharks are protected under House Bill 533, which was passed in the last legislative session.

“We are well aware of how important sharks are to maintain healthy marine ecosystems. We also recognize their importance in Native Hawaiian cultural practices and beliefs,” said Brian Neilson, Administrator of the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources.

The state said violation of the new law will be a misdemeanor, and carries the following penalties:

  • $500 for a first offense
  • $2,000 for a second offense
  • $10,000 for a third or subsequent offenses
  • A civil fine not exceeding $10,000 per offense
  • An administrative fine of no more than $10,000 for each shark captured or entangled, whether alive or dead
  • Seizure of any captured sharks or any part or product, commercial marine license, vessel and fishing equipment

Officials said the ban does not apply to people with permits issued by the DLNR, shark fishing for public safety, sharks captured for self-defense, or sharks taken outside of state marine waters with required documentation.

DLNR recommends that people avoid fishing in areas known to be frequented by sharks, especially pupping areas, and to use barbless circle hooks. Officials said if a shark is caught accidentally from a boat, avoid bringing it onto the vessel whenever possible. To release it, cut the line as safely as possible close to the shark’s mouth.

For information about sharks in Hawaiian waters, click here.

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