NISHIKI SEEKS BAN ON SHARK TOUR OPERATIONS IN MAUI WATERSAugust 6, 2009, 12:53 PM HST · Updated August 6, 4:37 PM 0 Comments
A bill to ban shark tour operations in Maui County will be considered in council committee this afternoon.Â The measure is being introduced by councilmember Wayne Nishiki who expressed concerns about cultural sensitivity and public safety.
Shark tours operate by charging a fee to view and feed sharks.Â Nishiki said the tours interfere with shark behavior and called the practice “disrespectful of Hawaiian culture.”Â The committee meets at 1:30 this afternoon (Thursday, August 06, 2009).
The measure states that sharks “carry great cultural, historical, and spiritual significance for many Native Hawaiians and others who value the Hawaiian culture.”
Nishiki also said the practice could put swimmers and surfers at risks if sharks regularly associate people with food.Â He further argues that the ocean ecology could be disrupted.
The county does not directly control activity in ocean waters, but Nishiki said the council has the ability to regulate or ban onshore business activity to promote public health and safety. He further notes that the General Plan encourages the County to respect and preserve cultural traditions.
(Posted by Wendy Osher, Information provided by the Office of Councilmember Wayne K. Nishiki; shark images courtesy the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawaii)