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Mark Ladao, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

May 8—Conservationists and Native Hawaiian leaders are praising a landmark bill passed by the state Legislature that lays out criminal and civil penalties for knowingly capturing or killing sharks within state waters.

House Bill 553, which is awaiting Gov. David Ige’s signature, culminates prior attempts in recent legislative sessions to establish protections for the 40 or so shark species in Hawaii, such as the scalloped hammerhead shark, which is listed as endangered, and 11 others categorized as vulnerable.

It would make it a misdemeanor offense to “knowingly capture or entangle any shark, whether alive or dead, or kill any shark, ” and sets fines of $500 for a first offense, $2, 000 for a second offense and $10, 000 for subsequent offenses. Offenders also would be subject to administrative fines of up to $10, 000 for each shark captured or killed, and the forfeiture of commercial marine licenses, vessels and fishing equipment.

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Photo Credit:  Star Advertiser