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Governor Enacts Legislation on Maui – Statement Regarding the Federal Shark Conservation Act

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed four bills related to land preservation, emergency medical services, small boat harbors and the Kahoolawe Island Reserve while at the Grand Wailea Resort on Maui.

Shark Legislation
“These measures will help to preserve Maui’s natural resources, encourage cultural activity, and improve emergency services,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The population has increased significantly on Maui, and it’s imperative to provide timely responses to emergencies.”

HB1424 (Relating to the Acquisition of Resource Value Land) requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), in consultation with the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, to engage to acquire the parcel of land located at Lipoa Point.  This measure requires DLNR to ensure to the maximum extent practicable that the seller of the land uses the proceeds of the sale to benefit the pension plan of retirees of the Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Inc.

SB498 (Relating to Emergency Medical Services) appropriates funds out of the Emergency Medical Services Special Fund to establish and fund a 24/7 special emergency medical response vehicle unit based in Maalaea, Maui, including acquisition of a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.

HB1412 (Relating to Small Boat Harbors) requires DLNR to accommodate mooring of native Hawaiian canoes owned or leased by nonprofit entities and used for educational purposes in small boat harbors.

HB1328 (Relating to the Kahoolawe Island Reserve) makes permanent the exemption for the procurement of food or fuel products necessary for the Kahoolawe island reserve commission.

Statement Regarding the Federal Shark Conservation Act:

Gov. Neil Abercrombie agrees with Hawaii Sen. Clayton Hee and William J. Aila, Jr., chairperson of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, that Hawaii law prohibiting the possession and sale of shark fins should not be pre-empted by the federal government. Under proposed National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration rules, fishing vessels would be not be allowed remove shark fins in federal waters, but required to bring whole sharks into Hawaii to cut their fins off on land.

Gov. Abercrombie stated:

“We must preserve the strong position the Hawaii State Legislature took in May 2010 when Hawaii became the first state in the nation to make it illegal to possess, sell or distribute shark fins in the state. This model legislation symbolizes Hawaii’s concern for the welfare of all creatures. “We oppose federal pre-emption of the Hawaii law. Our law is working as intended. We have educated fishers and restaurants, and they are complying.”