Reward offered for information on Keehi shark kill
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Reward offered for information on Keehi shark kill

  • COURTESY DLNR

    Dead baby hammerhead sharks at Keehi Boat Harbor.

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A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the deaths of dozens of hammerhead shark pups found at Keehi Boat Harbor last Tuesday, according to state officials.

Two, local non-profits focused on marine conservation and protection — For the Fishes and Moana ‘Ohana — are offering the monetary reward.

Although the exact cause of death for the shark pups remains unknown, state officials said that illegal nets are suspected. Furthermore, state officials said there have been a number of reports across the state where the sharks appear to have been intentionally tortured or killed.

The state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) is currently investigating the Keehi Boat Harbor case.

DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell said that if a gill net was used, determining the method of use is important. The use of a gill net in the lay net fishing method would be illegal, he said, and would also require the registration of the net with the state Division of Aquatic Resources, with tags.

“No matter the type of use, it is important for gill net fishers to inspect their net for unwanted catch, and to release them to ensure survival,” he said in a news release. “It appears that these shark pups were discarded, likely as unwanted catch. If state fishing regulations had been followed, these deaths would have been prevented. This was completely unnecessary, and contrary to ethical fishing in Hawaii.”

For the Fishes, a nonprofit based in Kihei, Maui, offered the initial $2,500 reward for this case. Mike Nakachi of Moana ‘Ohana, a cultural practitioner whose family aumakua is the mano, matched the $2,500 reward, bringing the total to $5,000.

Hawaii is home to more than 40 species of sharks key to maintaining the health of ocean ecosystems, state officials said. Many are threatened or endangered, primarily due to over-fishing, the illegal use of certain types of gear, such as gill nets, and marine entanglement.

Anyone with information can call the DOCARE hotline at 1-855-DLNR-TIP or 643-DLNR (3567) or use the DLNRTip app. All tips are anonymous.

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