HONOLULU (KHON2) — July 14 is observed as shark awareness day and sharks in Hawaii have a big cultural role. 

According to Hawaii Volcano National Park Services the shark (manō) is an important figure in Hawaiian culture and oral history. 

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Sharks are often considered one of the animals in which an ‘aumakua (ancestral guardian) might manifest itself to certain Hawaiian families. 

Did you know they were known to make appearances by bringing warnings of impending danger and in comfort in times of great sadness. 

Hawaii Volcano NPS said sharks have also been known to be helpful like guiding a lost canoe to safety.

Unfortunately, humans kill millions of sharks each year through fishing practices. Some believe the killing or eating of any shark is an act of filial disrespect to the families who have a genealogical connection to a particular shark. 

Legend has it that harming a shark who is an ‘aumakua could bring punishment by bringing sickness.

Shark fishing is illegal in Hawaii. Act 51 makes it illegal to knowingly capture, entangle or kill any species of shark in the state marine waters. 

According to Hawaii Volcano NPS ‘aumakua maintain a protective interest in the welfare of their descendants. Native Hawaiians might show their appreciation through prayer, applying certain talents passed down to them and following the behaviors of their ancestors. 

ʻAumakua often maintain a protective interest in the welfare of their descendants, and some Native Hawaiians show their appreciation through prayer, applying certain talents passed down to them, and following the behaviors of their ancestors.

5 fun facts about sharks:

  1. Sharks lose 30,000 teeth
  2. Sharks have larger eyes for deeper ventures
  3. Sharks have teeth on the outside for movement
  4. Sharks have long gestational periods 
  5. Sharks have amazing hearing abilities

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For more fun facts about sharks on National Shark Awareness day head to National Today’s website. If interested in sharks surrounding the cultural landscapes within Hawaii Volcano NPS click here