Friday, April 16, 2010

Update on Hawaii Shark Fin Bill: SB2169

An historic bill is moving through the Hawaiian Legislature calling on a prohibition of shark fin. Since passing the Hawaiian Senate, and then, last week's vote in the Hawaiian House of Representatives, SB 2169 - Relating to Shark Fins - has now moved to the next step in this long legislative process. And once again, it is necessary to rally support to ensure its final passage. There are still a few more steps to go, so please bear with us!

Following is an update from Stefanie Brendl of Shark Allies in Hawaii with instructions on how you can help today.

Here is where we are with this bill:

After passing the House vote, the bill went into "Conference", where Representatives from the House and the Senate are meeting to discuss a final version. Because the bill went through so many changes in the different Committees, the House and Senate disagree on some details of the final language. This is why the Conference is necessary.

The main issue now is that some members of the House are asking for changes that dilute the bill to the point of changing the whole intent. For example, taking out "possession" so that shark fins could still be imported for shark fin soup. And if the Senate and House cannot come to agreement on the language during this Conference process, the bill will not be able to move forward and won't even make it the next step.

The Hawaiian people are overwhelming in support of the measure, including more and more among the Chinese community in Hawaii. But there is still some opposition in the House that is not completely clear.

We have scheduled a press conference for Sunday where we will show the depth of support that we really have. We have invited members of the community to represent the Hawaiian and the Chinese culture, as well as representatives of conservation groups. We will have videos, photos and articles available.

Here is how you can help:

1) Please send a letter to the Hawaii House Representatives:

The important points to include in the letter are:

  • Ask the members of the legislature to please make sure SB2169 will move ahead and become law. Don't let this important opportunity slip away.
  • Legislators, please listen to the majority, and not to the interests of a small group that is trying to hold up this ground breaking movement.
  • The world is watching. Hawaii can make a difference. Legislators can show great leadership by taking a strong stance.

It is important that they realize how many people are watching this effort, and how much impact this will have.

Please address your letters to:

Hawaii State Legislature
State Capitol Building
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

Re: S.B. No. 2169, Relating to Shark Fins

Dear Members of the Hawaii State Legislature,

Also please send a copy to all the Representatives at this address:

2) If you have time, give these offices a call ASAP.

These are the House Representatives on the conference committee that still have objections to the bill.

Speaker Say is not on the committee, but he is the speaker of the House, and therefore has a great deal of influence on all of the Representatives.

Feel free to ask some tough questions and demand answers on why they are hesitating to support this bill. But please keep it polite and respectful! Email addresses are included below in case you want to follow up with materials etc.

Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu ph 808 586-8490 e-mail

Representative Ken Ito: ph 808 586-8470 e-mail

Representative Angus McKelvey ph 808 586-6160 e-mail

House Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say ph 808 586-6100 e-mail

Thank you for your continued support and patience! We will continue to keep you up to date as this bill moves through this - sometimes tedious - process!

Stefanie Brendl
Shark Allies

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