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Nine Ocean Bills Signed Into Law on World Oceans Day

Two courting whitetip reef sharks.
Kaikea Nakachi
Two courting whitetip reef sharks.

Gov. David Ige signed nine ocean and marine-related bills into law on Tuesday, which was also World Oceans Day. They include bills that work towards sustainability goals such as marine ecosystem protection, clean water, and sustainable fisheries.

One of the bills, HB553, will provide penalties to those who intentionally capture, entangle, or kill sharks.

Another bill, HB1016, creates a single valid commercial marine vessel license and requires all personnel on fishery boats to have that license when aboard the boat.

HB1023 requires nonresidents to have a recreational fishing license when fishing or catching marine life.

Suzanne Case, the director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, explained why these bills are important at the bill signing ceremony.

"We’re watching our coral reefs disappear after repeated coral bleaching offenses," she said. "We see our shorelines inundated with high tides, storm surges washing away our sandy beaches, and more frequent and severe storm events."

"Our nearshore systems in Hawaiʻi are threatened by illegal and unsustainable fishing practices, invasive species, sewage, and land-based pollution. These threats have major impacts on the health of our nearshore waters and their ability to provide for us and our keiki," she stated.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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