Large biotech companies like Syngenta, Monsanto, Pioneer, Dow and BASF have long been experimenting with GMO crops and seeds in Hawaii. They have farms on Oahu, Kauai and Molokai, but they've never operated on Hawaii's Big Island -- and now they never will.

On Tuesday, the Hawaii County Council passed a bill, 6-3, that forbids biotech companies from operating on the Big Island and prohibits all new genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. (The papaya industry, which has more than 200 farms on the Big Island, is exempt from the bill.)

The bill includes fines of $1,000 a day for violators.

Mayor Billy Kenoi hasn’t indicated his stance on the bill, but he has 10 days to veto it. The county council could override a veto with a vote from six members.

Passage of Bill 113 comes just days after the Hawaiian island of Kauai pushed forward legislation that severely increases regulations of biotech companies.

GMO Debate In Hawaii Rages

In September, public testimonies regarding Bill 113 were nearly apocalyptic. Critics of GMOs insisted that such crops might cause cancer, birth deformities, tumors, sterility and even widespread devastation.

One woman, Helene Love, suggested that GMOs could be as bad as a nuclear disaster. “Forcing genes of one species into another and changing the DNA of plants is not natural," she testified, "and could turn out to be a huge danger, similar to nuclear disasters of our planet that we can’t put out.”

Many Americans already eat GMO foods regularly: 90 percent of corn and 95 percent of soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. According to a number of federal agencies, including the American Medical Association and the Food and Drug Administration, there is no scientific evidence that shows approved GMOs are harmful.

For the most part, local farmers in Hawaii don't grow GMO crops. But, according to Honolulu Civil Beat, small farmers "worry that they won't have access to future, cutting-edge technologies that could help in their operations."

Dean Okimoto, president of the Hawaii Farm Bureau, told Civil Beat that while the bill targets large biotech, it could end up hurting small farmers down the road. "How can you say you can only farm what you are farming now?" he said. "You may be putting guys out of business by restricting what they can and cannot use going forward. The cattle guys are depending on trying to develop a drought resistant grass."

While it may seem extreme to some, Bill 113 is actually the tamer of two bills the Big Island has considered. Bill 109 would have banned all genetically modified plants, including papayas already grown on the island, and it would have punished violators with jail time.

"I keep saying this is really modest," Councilwoman Margaret Wille, who introduced the bill, told Civil Beat. "All I did was say everyone halt where they are. This is status quo."

"We are at a juncture," she said of the Big Island. "Do we move forward in the direction of the agro-chemical monoculture model of agriculture, or do we move toward eco-friendly, diversified farming?"

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • A picture taken on October 9, 2008 shows an ultralight helicopter hovering above a field where Greenpeace activists and Austrian organic farming association BIO AUSTRIA wrote the message 'NO GMO' (Genetically Modified Organism) by planting light green coloured organic buckwheat in a field of organic peas in Breitenfurt, some 60 kms south east from Vienna. (DIETER NAGL/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Thirty-five tons of corn put by Greenpace activists at Mexico City's Zocalo Square as a protest against the sowing of transgenic corn, form a map of Mexico on February 26, 2009. (Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

  • People walk on a plateform past an advert against genetically modified (GMO) food on February 15, 2011 at a subway station in Paris. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greenpeace activists demonstrate against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on November 24, 2008 in front of EU headquarters in Brussels. Greenpeace called on the European Union to suspend the authorization of GMOs until the EU is capable of evaluating the risks they pose. (DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greenpeace activists stand a protest in front of Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City against the farming of transgenic corn in Mexico, on June 26, 2009. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A Greenpeace activist impersonating Brazil's Chief of Staff Dilma Russeff takes part in a protest against the authorization to grow transgenic rice during a meeting of the National Biosecurity Technical Commission (CYNBIO) at the Science and Technology Ministry in Brasilia October 15, 2009. (JOEDSON ALVES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greenpeace activists distribute samples of transgenic rice as part of a protest against the authorization to grow transgenic rice during a meeting of the National Biosecurity Technical Commission (CYNBIO) at the Science and Technology Ministry in Brasilia October 15, 2009. (JOEDSON ALVES/AFP/Getty Images)

  • The logo of French 'Les faucheurs volontaires' (Volunteer trimmers of GMO) is seen as demonstrators stand in front of the booth of French union 'la confederation paysanne' (farmers union) during an action against GMO at the International Agricultural Fair on March 6, 2010 in Paris. The European Commission authorised, on March 2, the cultivation of a genetically modified potato, developed by BASF, the first such green light for 12 years. The issue of so-called 'frankenfoods' has long been a matter of fierce debate in Europe and the commission stressed that the Amflora potato in question would be able to be grown only for 'industrial use' including animal feed, rather than for human consumption. (BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A couple waves after a parody of union between German chemical giant BASF (L) and the European Food Safety Authority (R) - Autorite europeenne de securite des aliments- (EFSA) during the International Agricultural Fair on March 6, 2010 in Paris. (BERTRAND LANGLOIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A giant banner depicting a farm, is seen as Greenpeace activists hold banners to protest against the genetically modified (GMO) food production in front of the parliament building of Budapest on February 10, 2010. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A grey-cow is pictured near Greenpeace activists in traditional Hungarian costume standing in front of a giant banner depicting a farm as others hold a banner reading 'GMO-free Europe' to protest against the genetically modified (GMO) food production in front of the parliament building of Budapest on February 10, 2011 during a demonstration. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Greenpeace activists hold a banner to protest against the genetically modified (GMO) food production in front of the parliament building of Budapest on February 10, 2010. (ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images)

  • A man dressed up as a bee holds a placard during a demonstration organized by French Professional Beekeepers Federation (FFAP) to protest against the use of pesticide on September 14, 2011 along the Saint-Bernard quay in Paris. (JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Anti-Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) demonstrators protest in front of Colmar courthouse on September 28, 2011, eastern France, during the trial of 60 militants accused of destroying MGO plants. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • An anti-GMO activist holds a banner reading 'Science without conscience is but the ruin of soul' during an action to call for the ban of the 'MON 810', a variety of genetically modified maize (corn) developed by Monsanto Company on January 23, 2012 at a Monsanto storehouse in Trebes near Carcassonne, southern France. (ERIC CABANIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Is Branding Food With "GMO" the Kiss of Death?

    Prop 37 in California proposes that genetically modified food be labeled "GMO". If you knew your food was genetically modified, would you still eat it?