Thank you, Chairman Inouye and committee members, for this opportunity to speak in support of S.B. 2712.
The issue of shark finning is an important one and needs to be addressed. Any decision made will obviously have a positive impact on some parts of the community even though others will be negatively impacted. Over the past year we have heard that a great many fishermen will be impacted if you were to pass a bill banning the practice of shark finning. This claim begs the question: What is the status of our fisheries if its primary targeted species is the swordfish, bottom fish and tuna? Has the fisheries declined to a point that shark finning is necessary to supplement the salaries of the fishermen? If this is true, then we should be concerned that the current practice of shark finning will also result in the inevitable decline in shark populations throughout the Pacific.
There are some that claim that the blue shark population is stable and can support a shark fin fisheries. Even if it were true, it does not speak specifically to the reality of the circumstances involved the shark fin industry in Hawaii.
Other species of shark, like the mako, thrasher and white tip, are caught and sold by fishermen. Attached is a copy of a report showing that other species are being caught and finned.
I have also attached photographs for better insight into the business of shark finning in Hawaii.
Your vote in support of this bill will be a step in ensuring that Hawaiis fragile marine resources are being managed properly. Again thank you for allowing me to make this presentation.
Presented by Mr. Carroll E. Cox
President, EnviroWatch Inc.