Categorized | Opinions

Manta Ray Protection Bills Introduced into the Hawaiian House and Senate – Testimony needed ASAP

By Manta Pacific Research Foundation

Honolulu, HAWAII – January 29, 2009

mexicomantafillet_smTwo bills have been introduced into the Hawaiian Legislature for manta ray protection in the state – one each in the House and the Sentate. House Bill 366, stating that “no person shall knowingly capture or kill a manta ray within state marine waters”, was introduced on Friday by Representatives Denny Coffman and Hermina Morita and was also signed by 9 more representatives. Senate Bill 394, using the same language, was introduced by Kona Senator Josh Green and Senator Mike Gabbard.

While manta rays have been fished for years in Indonesia, Baja, the Philippines, Africa and throughout Asia, no fishery has ever existed in Hawaii. Hawaii has a healthy population of manta rays, but information on the life history and movement rate show that they would be highly susceptible to over fishing. Hawaii has now been targeted by aquarium as a location where they can capture manta rays for husbandry experiments and display in tanks. Without legislative protection, these aquariums will be able to take as many individuals from the population as they want without having to report on the fate of the individuals they take.

There is currently no legal protection for manta rays in the state.

HB366 is already scheduled to be heard by the Committee on Water, Land, and Ocean Resources on Monday February 2, 2009 at 9:00am.

MPRF requests you send testimony!

Your help is greatly needed to help protect manta rays in Hawaii. Please send testimony supporting HB366 and SB394 to our Representatives. Protocol requires that testimony for HB366 be submitted 24 hours prior to the hearing. Since the hearing is on Monday, to reach our Representatives in time, it should be submitted by 9:00am HST Friday January 30, 2009. (Further note: we have since learned that testimony can be submitted until Sunday February 1, 2009 at 9:00am HST)

You can submit via paper, fax, or the web. To submit via:
PAPER: send copies (including original) to Room 438 in the State Capitol;
FAX: For comments less than 5 pages in length, transmit to 586-8504 (Oahu) or 1-800-535-3859 (Neighbor Islands)
WEB: For comments less than 4MB in size, transmit through the webpage at www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailte…

Links to More Information

Text of HB366
Text of SB394
Legislature Bill Status and Documents
WLO Hearing Agenda

About Manta Pacific Research Foundation

Manta Pacific Research Foundation’s mission is to study manta rays in their natural habitat, conduct scientific research, provide education programs for the public about manta rays and the marine environment, and to establish and promote manta ray conservation.
For more information, go to www.mantapacific.org, or write to Manta Pacific Research Foundation, P.O. Box 3227 Kailua-Kona, HI 96745-3227 or email us at info@mantapacific.org.
Manta Pacific Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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