For Immediate Release
Contact: Laleh Mohajerani
Hawai’i Legislators Make Pioneer Move to Protect Sharks
Los Angeles, Ca – On April 6th, 2010, the Hawai’i House passed measure SB 2169, prohibiting the distribution, sale, and possession of shark fins in the State of Hawai’i. If passed through the Senate, will set a precedent for other states and nations. Measure SB 2169 is a victory for the protection of sharks and an important step toward ocean conservation. If/when SB 2169 becomes effective, Hawaii will be the first state in the union to ban the sale of shark fins.
Currently, shark finning is banned in U.S. waters; however, the sale of shark fins is still legal. Shark “finning” is the process of cutting the fins from the living animal and wastefully disposing of the body back into the sea. Finning kills over 70 million sharks annually, threatening the survival of these important top predators. Shark fins are consumed primarily in the form if shark fin soup, a delicacy traditionally served to Asian communities at banquets and weddings and is erroneously thought to have health benefits. The growing economic power of the Asian public is fueling a booming and unsustainable industry that is critically endangering sharks.
By preying on weak, sick and dying animals, sharks prevent explosions of fish populations and are the key element in a balanced ecosystem. Removing sharks from the oceanic ecosystem may have dramatic ecological impacts that could threaten all commercial fisheries.
Iemanya Oceanica, a Southern California based shark conservation group is delighted about the turn of events in Hawai’i, “We hope that lawmakers around the world will follow suit in instituting similar protections for these critically important animals. We want to congratulate Hawai’i’s representatives for their groundbreaking decision to get behind this measure” said Iemanya’s President, Laleh Mohajerani.
The bill now has passed from the house and into “Conference” next week, which means it will be subjected to additional discussion and potential amendments. Stefanie Brendl from the Humane Society who has been rallying support for this bill says, “I felt that it was such an important and historic piece of legislation that I immediately dropped everything and have dedicated all my time to it. It hasn’t been easy getting this bill this far and we don’t expect it to be easy in the next weeks to come.” Brendl continues “This bill is not only important for Hawai’i but for the whole nation, if not for the world. The Mission Blue team of 50 top celebrities and marine scientists are now supporting the measure, including Dr. Silvia Earle, Ed Norton, Glenn Close, and Leonardo di Caprio.” Brendl will be working with Senator Hee, who introduced the Bill, and Representative McKelvey, a supporter of the Bill, on the exact final language. SB 2169 will then move on to a Senate vote.
In 2010 Iemanya Oceanica will be collaborating with other conservation groups on a nation-wide campaign in the U.S. to prohibit the sale and possession of shark fins in all 50 states, and Mohajerani added, “We are all eagerly watching Hawai’i’s progress in this extraordinary move towards shark conservation and support the Hawai’ian legislators push to protect the oceans from being depleted.”
For more information, please contact Iemanya Oceanica at (818) 224-4250 or visit www.Iemanya.org.
Images can be found at www.Iemanya.org