Hawaii lawmakers to discuss criminalizing monk seal takings
HONOLULU — State lawmakers are to discuss whether the taking of Hawaiian monk seals should become a felony.
The House Committee on Water, Land and Ocean Resources will consider SB 2441, which would make the taking of the endangered seals a class C felony.
Persons convicted of such crimes could receive a maximum fine of $50,000.
Supporters say incidents on Molokai and Kauai show state penalties are far too lenient.
But state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials oppose the bill because it also would apply the stricter penalties to illegal takings of other species. They say that language could dissuade private landowners from assisting species recovery efforts.
The hearing is set for 11 a.m. Monday at the state Capitol.