Friday, April 2, 2010

Hawaiian Bill to Ban the Possession, Sale and Distribution of Shark Fins

Thanks to the tireless efforts of:

Stefanie Brendl of Shark Allies, as well as Inga Gibson - Humane Society, Linda Paul - Hawaii Audubon Society, and of course Senator Clayton Hee, who wrote and introduced the bill, and former Hawaiian First Lady Mrs. Vicky Cayetano - the inspiration for the bill! - and many other supporters --- Hawaiian Senate Bill 2169 has made it through numerous , hearings, votes and reviews over the past few months. And it's still alive!!

Yesterday, after the House Judiciary Committee had deferred (translation: killed) the bill, supporters refused to give up. They persevered and were able to get it back into a decision meeting hearing yesterday, where it was voted on and passed out of committee. Now the bill is officially ALIVE again and moving ahead!!!! Getting it out of Judiciary committee was a HUGE step, and certainly the most difficult one so far.

But it's not time to celebrate yet. Lots more work to do.


Following are the instructions from Stefanie and we've also posted an example letter written by Mark Thorpe, founder of the Global Shark Initiative. And please, please keep all letters positive and respectful!!


A) The bill will now go to the House Floor for a vote (probably tuesday).
You can help us tackle the next hurdle by writing to the representatives:

Before Tuesday, April 6
Send a message to all of them (it's just one email address), and ask them to vote in support of SB2169 Relating to shark fins during House floor vote

email address:

include this information

TO: House Representatives
RE: House floor vote on Measure SB 2169 Relating to shark fins

Let them know that this is an important step not only for Hawaii, but also for the rest of the world. Hawaii can be a leader and send a strong message by helping this ground breaking bill pass into law. They should feel good about being in the forefront of such an important issue.

I think it is not necessary to write a lot. If your message is short and to the point, it is more likely to be read.

B) Media coverage of any kind will be very helpful at this point. The kind of coverage that shows that this is a very important and ground breaking effort and that Hawaii will show strong leadership by taking this step. We want to show the politicians that this is getting international positive attention, and they can take great pride in supporting the bill.

And as Sen Hee has pointed out, this will also help the federal bill (Shark Conservation Act) -- an important point he is going to drive home next week.


Example letter from Mark Thorpe:

TO: House Representatives
RE: House floor vote on Measure SB 2169 Relating to shark fins

Dear Representatives,

I write to express my profound request that you see fit to enact the Hawaii Shark Fin Bill: SB2169.

The recent events at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Doha, Qatar were seen as an affront to the very existence of sharks and the health of our oceans. As a global citizen concerned with the accelerated destruction of our planet's natural resources and stocks I implore that you see fit to help enact SB2169.

As a proud Hawaiian I also draw your attention to the fact that sharks occupy a very special place in the Hawaiian culture. Known as both Kamohoali'i and Ukanipo in Hawaiian folklore these deity have played an integral role in the formation of many proud and strong Hawaiian people. It serves no one, except corporate entities, in allowing the spirits to these cultural deity to be sold to the highest bidder. How anyone involved with the removal of this Bill could then continue to suggest they are a proud Hawaiian would in itself be an insult to those who strive for its enforcement.

I am not here today to inform you of the numbers of sharks slaughtered for their fins on an annual basis. I am not here today to inform you of the effect this is having on our Oceans as a whole and neither am I here to inform you of the mounting number of global citizens who can see these crimes being committed on a daily basis against our birthright, and yet we don't get to have a say.

Instead, today I am here as an individual. I am here as a family member, a parent, a father, a mother, a son and a daughter. I am here to ask you to make a stand and align with the bold actions of leaders in Palau and the Maldives who have recently ordained their waters as official Shark sanctuaries. I am here to ask you to be a role model for emerging generations of proud Hawaiians, to be a catalyst in the request for healthy Oceans, ones that I would be proud to pass on to my children.

Your actions in the coming days will define you as a Hawaiian, as a culturally proud member of this unique race it is your responsibility to ensure that this bill gets passed. The global shark conservation community implores you to 'Do the right thing', for Sharks, for Hawaii and for the benefit of our Ocean planet.

(Your Name)
Proud Member of The Global Shark Initiative

Thank you for your help!!! We'll be posting regular updates on Facebook.

Shark Safe Network Team


  1. Help me did I read this bill goes into effect in 2050?

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. This is intentional. The defective date will make it necessary for the bill to go to a conference where all wording issues and amendments can be ironed out. I don't understand all the political procedures, but I know that it's nothing something we need to worry about.