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Suspects accused of shark feeding

The five work for tour operations on the North Shore

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 2:53 a.m. HST, Aug 21, 2010

This story has been corrected.

Five employees of North Shore shark tour operations have been charged with feeding sharks within state waters.

One of the five employees -- Maurice Lee Chalker Jr. -- was arraigned in Wahiawa District Court yesterday for the offense, a petty misdemeanor. Another employee -- Eric Christopher Nourrie -- is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.

It was not disclosed yesterday which shark tour company Chalker and Nourrie work for. Chalker faces a $1,000 maximum fine and 30 days in jail.

Two other employees are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. A court date has yet to be set for the fifth employee.

Joe Pavsek, owner of North Shore Shark Adventures, declined to comment on the charges. Stefanie Brendl, owner of Hawaii Shark Encounters, could not be reached for comment.

Under state law, shark feeding is prohibited in Hawaii's territorial waters, which extend three miles from shore. An exemption is made for Hawaiian cultural or religious practices provided that the feeding is not part of a commercial activity.

An investigation of the two companies was conducted by conservation enforcement officers of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and special agents of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Law Enforcement, Pacific Island Division.

Deborah Ward, spokeswoman of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, declined to provide further details of the investigation.

"It's going to be a matter of adjudication," Ward said.


» Eric Christopher Nourrie is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on illegal shark-feeding charges. An article on Page A17 Friday reported that Nourrie was arraigned Thursday at Wahiawa District Court.


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