- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

HALEIWA, Hawaii (AP) - State aquatic officials are investigating an illegal lay net found by divers off of Oahu’s North Shore.

Hawaii Eco Divers scuba instructor Loren Kearney says a small dead shark was caught in the net when she came across it while diving under 70 feet of water, KITV-TV reported (http://bit.ly/1KN8CD4).

“I’m looking and this net is stretching from about 70-feet below all the way to the surface,” he said. “There was about a 3 1/2-foot to maybe a 4-foot sandbar shark that had wrapped itself up in the net, and unfortunately, it had passed away.”

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources is investigating the incident.

Division of Aquatic Resources acting administrator Alton Miyasaka says criminal fines can be as much as $500 and could mean up to 30 days in jail, with civil penalties reaching even higher.

“On the civil side, there’s the potential for a $1,000 fine per violation and $1,000 fine per fish that’s found illegally in the net.”

Land management officials ask people to contact the agency if they find an unattended lay net so it can be removed. Kearney said she took the net out of the water herself on Tuesday to keep other marine animals from getting caught in it.

“I just knew with the government that there might be a little bit of delay, so I just wanted to get the net out as soon as possible,” he said.

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Information from: KITV-TV, http://www.kitv.com/index.html

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