Thursday, October 22, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, April 3, 2020
Enviros Use Sharks as Excuse in Latest Attack on Hawaii Fishing Industry
By News Release @ 10:00 AM :: 826 Views :: Environment, Small Business

Groups Sue to Protect Imperiled Pacific Oceanic Whitetip Sharks  

Government violating federal rules designed to rebuild the population  

News Release from Earth Justice, April 2, 2020 

Honolulu, HI - Earthjustice filed a federal lawsuit today on behalf of a local conservation group and individuals to enforce protections for a dwindling shark species that has roamed the oceans for millions of years.  

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Conservation Council for Hawai‘i and Michael Nakachi, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner and owner of a local scuba diving company, aims to force the National Marine Fisheries Service to take long-delayed action to protect oceanic whitetip sharks. For Nakachi, the shark has been his family’s sacred protector for generations.

Oceanic whitetip sharks were historically one of the most abundant sharks in the world’s oceans, but due to both U.S. and international fishing pressure, the population has declined significantly. Scientists estimate that in the Pacific Ocean alone, oceanic whitetip populations have declined 80-95 percent since the mid-1990s. Despite years of data showing that thousands of sharks are still killed as bycatch in Pacific fisheries each year, the Fisheries Service has failed to declare that Pacific oceanic whitetip sharks are overfished.  This declaration would trigger protective action by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

“No protections exist to prevent fisheries from capturing oceanic whitetip sharks as bycatch,” said Moana Bjur, Executive Director of the Conservation Council for Hawai’i “That needs to change if we are to prevent this incredible apex predator from going extinct. That’s why we’re going to court.”

Listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 2018, oceanic whitetip sharks are no longer targeted by long-liners in the U.S or by most commercial fisheries worldwide. However, thousands continue to die each year because they are accidentally caught in nets, lines, or other gear meant to catch different species - such as tuna and swordfish - in the waters off Hawai‘i and American Samoa. Over the past decade, long-liners operating in the Pacific Ocean have captured an estimated 20,000 oceanic whitetip sharks as bycatch.

“It’s time for the government to stop preventable shark deaths,” said Michael Nakachi.  “As a kahu manō (guardian to the shark) I feel a personal responsibility to speak up on this issue, but I believe we all share a duty to ensure the survival of this sacred animal.” 

As the lawsuit points out, in making the determination to list the oceanic whitetip shark as threatened in 2018, the Fisheries Service recognized the overfished status of the species and concluded that due to “significant and ongoing threats,” the oceanic whitetip shark is “on a trajectory towards a high risk of extinction in the foreseeable future.” 

The suit asks the court to order the Fisheries Service to make proper notifications that “would trigger necessary protections as expeditiously as possible, and no later than 30 days after this Court’s order.”

The purpose of the Magnuson-Stevens Act is to “take immediate action to conserve and manage the fishery resources found off the coasts of the United States.”  Congress enacted the Magnuson-Stevens Act to “prevent overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks [of fish].” Prompt action is required under the Magnuson-Stevens Act to “prevent overfishing and rebuild overfished stocks [of fish].”

Roaming widely, the mobile, solitary oceanic whitetip shark lives in warm, tropical and sub-tropical waters around the world. At the top of the marine food chain, oceanic whitetip sharks are long-lived and slow-growing.  A female oceanic whitetip can take nine years to reach sexual maturity.  Females give birth to live young, with an average litter of six pups.  A female’s reproductive cycle is slow, typically only giving birth every other year after a lengthy gestation period of 10-12 months. 

“The oceanic whitetip shark’s unique biology, coupled with the preventable threat of getting accidentally hooked or trapped in fishing gear, means that it is past time for the federal government to do its job and take swift action to protect this species,” said Earthjustice attorney Brettny Hardy. 

---30---

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit public interest environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. 

We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

ACA Signups Hawaii

ALEC

Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

ChinaTownWatch.com

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

DeedySupport.com

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

KeyWiki

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii

NARTH

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Hawaiian

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT