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Taking Rays, Feeding Sharks Now Illegal
By Wendy Heller, January 7, 2008 @ 02:00 AM (EST)
Source: Saipantribune.com

This came after Gov. Benigno R. Fitial signed into law Senate Bill 15-100, authored by Sen. Pete P. Reyes.

Under Public Law 15-124, anyone convicted of violating either prohibition may face six months in prison and or a fine of $1,000. Repeat violators may be imprisoned for a year and imposed a fine of $3,000.

On top of the criminal penalties, the director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife may assess a maximum civil penalty of $5,000 against a violator of the ban on ray taking or shark feeding.

The legislation was based upon findings that the eagle ray population in the CNMI are under threat due to hunting. In addition to environmental concerns, such hunting is feared to instill an unnatural fear of divers, thereby making the CNMI a less attractive diving destinations.

Meanwhile, shark feeding became a concern following reports that some tour operators had been feeding sharks in areas traditionally used by children to swim, notably Saipan’s Grotto.

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