A 72-year-old Kauai woman must pay $250 in fines as well as forfeit illegal whale items she attempted to sell at a local farmer’s market, according to the island’s prosecuting attorney.
Fifth Circuit Environmental Court Judge Michael Soong handed down the sentence to Vivian Satow of Anahola on Dec. 3. It is the first conviction for the illegal trafficking of whale bone in Hawaii under a new statute that took effect on July 1, 2017, according to Kauai prosecuting attorney Justin F. Kollar.
An investigation conducted by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revealed that on May 15, Satow attempted to sell pieces of jewelry containing knowingly illegal whale ivory and whale teeth at her booth at a farmer’s market in Anahola.
Satow entered a plea of no contest to prohibited wildlife trafficking, considered a misdemeanor.
“It shows that Kauai is on the forefront of environmental justice and we are grateful to our partners in DLNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife for their diligence in this shared mission to protect our wildlife from illegal trade practices,” said Kollar in a statement.
Act 125, the new statute prohibiting the sale, offer for sale, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter for any part or product of any species of elephant, shark and ray, sea turtle, walrus, narwhal, whale, monk seal and other animals identified as threatened or endangered, was signed into law by Gov. David Ige in 2016.
Deputy prosecuting attorney Chris Donahoe prosecuted the case, while deputy public defender Larie Manutai represented Satow.