Supporters of ban on shark tours gather signatures
HONOLULU (AP) — Supporters of a ban on shark viewing tours said they gathered several hundred signatures Saturday as part of move to try to stop the tours.
Mahina Chillingworth, vice president of the surf group Hui O He'e Nalu, which sponsored a rally Saturday at Haleiwa Harbor, said the signatures come in addition to the 1,000 signatures the group previously collected.
The group has opposed the tours, pointing to safety concerns and noting the North Shore of Oahu is considered the surf capital of the world.
"When you feed the sharks, you are altering their natural habitat," said Collingsworth.
But Joe Pavesk, owner of North Shore Shark Adventures, denied the practice is a threat to public safety.
His tour company has been in business for nine years "with a clean safety record," he said.
Shark tour companies are allowed to feed sharks in federal waters three miles offshore as long it is done in conjunction with scientific research, he claimed in a press release.
The issue of feeding sharks has long been a contentious issue, with those opposed to the practice criticizing North Shore Sen. Robert Bunda and Rep. Michael Magaoay for trying to exempt North Shore operators from bills in the Legislature that would have banned shark tours.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Bulletin, http://www.starbulletin.com