The tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvier, is a species of requiem shark and the only member of the genus Galeocerdo. The tiger shark is a relatively large macropredator, capable of attaining a length of over 16 feet. Photo courtesy of NOAA

A crewmember from North Shore Shark Adventures was charged with chumming the water to attract sharks in Haleiwa, O‘ahu’s North Shore last week. Chumming in state waters is only allowed for cultural or religious purposes, but doing it as a commercial activity is considered a petty misdemeanor, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Just before 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 1, DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources (DOCARE) officers monitoring fishing activities on the first day of the Akule (Big Eye Scad) season, off Haleiwa on O‘ahu’s north shore, began watching the vessel Isao. It was a commercial shark diving boat from North Shore Shark Adventures, based at Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor. Officers witnessed a crewmember holding a bucket and chum the water by throwing fish into the ocean. Several sharks appeared, attracted by the chumming.

DOCARE officers determined the boat was in state ocean waters. Hawai‘i Revised Statutes prohibit activities relating to the feeding of sharks in state waters. The law provides very narrow exceptions such as for cultural or religious practices, provided the feeding is not part of a commercial activity.

“The safety of everyone who uses our ocean resources continues to be a high priority for DOCARE. State law recognizes that sharks are dangerous and prohibits feeding them in state waters to discourage activities that may increase the risk of conflicts with people” said Acting DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla.

Officers cited 35-year-old Marden Ribeiro of Pūpūkea for feeding sharks. The violation is petty misdemeanor that upon conviction could have fines and jail time. Ribeiro will be required to appear in Wahiawa District Court.