Maui County Ban on Shark Tour Business

August 14, 2009

The Maui County Council’s Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee unanimously voted to recommend passage of a bill to ban shark tour businesses in Maui County. Fortunately, no such businesses exist on Maui, so no one will be put out of business as a result of the ban.

The County has no jurisdiction over off-shore activities but the bill will regulate businesses operating on Maui by making it illegal to charge customers to enter the ocean to feed or attract sharks for viewing in Maui County.  The consensus is to stop these businesses from developing like they have on Oahu.

As for the reasons behind the ban, there are both cultural and ecological concerns. Cultural concerns that have been raised include the fact that feeding sharks is offensive to Native Hawaiians. The mano is a sacred amakua, or guardian spirit, of the Hawaiian people. As a spiritual symbol, it is very much revered. Feeding the sharks for the purpose of entertainment and as a spectacle would be a great disrespect to the Native Hawaiian people, according to the council.

The ecological concerns center around the fact that feeding the sharks, pursuing them, or otherwise interfering with their natural habitat could change their behavior and therefore, the ecology of the ocean in places where they are present.

Council member Wayne Nishiki introduced this measure with the intent to prevent shark tour businesses from developing. The bill should come before the full County Council for the first reading on August 25th. Council member Sol Kahoohalahala expressed some concern that commercial activities are stressing ocean ecosystems by viewing them through an economic lense rather than an ecological one. There is a definite tendency to perceive value as it applies financially, but a healthy environment should be recognized as priceless.

The ban will also prevent the associated risks of close proximity with sharks, so it should be difficult to argue with the common sense behind it.

As for Maui real estate, we recommend that you browse the Wailea Fairway Villas for some lovely homes, or perhaps the homes for sale in Maalaea. If you have any questions or would like to contact us, you can call (866) 874-1942 toll free or Lisa’s cell at (808) 283-7426. You can also email [email protected] or [email protected].

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