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3rd September, 2011

NOAA urges participation in PEIS process

NOAA has circulated a reminder urging public participation in meetings to address questions and concerns on the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement of its Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions, and to allow formal testimony on the PEIS.

Meetings Schedule

TOWN HALL MEETINGS – Informal Question and Answer
NOAA Fisheries Service staff will provide a presentation on the status of monk seals and proposed recovery actions draft PEIS, and then be available to answer community questions and talk story about monk seal recovery.  For your convenience, at least two town hall sessions will be offered on each island. Town hall meetings have occurred on O‛ahu, Moloka‛i, Lāna‛i, and Maui. Please see schedule below for remaining town hall meetings scheduled on the Big Island and on Kaua‛i. **Please note: These are informational meetings only; we cannot take public comments for the record at these meetings.

PUBLIC HEARINGS – Formal Hearing for Public Comments
NOAA Fisheries service staff will provide a brief presentation about the draft PEIS and then receive comments for the public record.  The first 30 minutes will be an informal open-house where folks can talk story with NOAA scientists and managers involved in monk seal recovery. → Continue reading NOAA urges participation in PEIS process

25th August, 2011

Hawaiian monk seal recovery actions update

Recent Publications

NOAA. 2011. Hawaiian monk seal recovery actions. Programmatic environmental impact statement. NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Region. August 2011, Newsletter # 2: 1-6. [PDF 336 KB]

“This newsletter is the second in a series of newsletters regarding the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions Programmatic Environmental Impact State- ment (PEIS). Since distribution of the first newsletter in October 2010, the Draft PEIS was completed and is currently available for public review and comment. Newsletters and the Draft PEIS can be found on the project website at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/eis/hawaiianmonkseal.htm. The purpose of this newsletter is to announce the availability of the Draft PEIS and to invite you to participate in the formal public hearings and open house to provide feedback on the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions PEIS. This newsletter also provides a summary of alternatives considered in the document and guidance for providing comments.”

24th August, 2011

Why NOAA considered euthanizing aggressive monk seal

Media Watch, Hawaii News Now, 24 August 2011

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Teams from NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — have wrapped up this year’s Hawaiian monk seal field research in the Northwestern Hawaiian islands.

Controversy surrounded their efforts this season because of their decision to try to euthanize an aggressive monk seal that, they observed, attacking seal pups. Today, NOAA defended its decision by showing us some very graphic pictures of injured pups after an attack. […]

Source: Why NOAA considered euthanizing aggressive monk seal, Hawaii News Now, 24 August 2011

23rd August, 2011

Researchers face difficulties with monk seals

Media Watch, KITV, 23 August 2011

KURE ATOLL, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — Untangling seals, applying stealth treatments, and searching for a killer. Scientists have had an exhausting season trying to manage our monk seal population. “The animal is entangled around the neck,” explained Dr. Charles Littnan at a news conference on Tuesday, pointing to a monk seal tangled in debris. Dr. Littnan and a team of 15 just returned from Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. They’ve spent the past two weeks detangling seals from the constant waves of debris, counting and tagging newborns, reuniting some with their families, and trying to stop overly aggressive attacks — especially by one called KE18. […]

Video: Hawaii Teams Rescue Monk Seals

22nd August, 2011

MPA and monk seal conservation workshop in Martinique

— Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

Within the framework of the Second International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, which is being organised in Fort-de-France, Martinique, from 7-11 November 2011 by the French National MPA Agency, a workshop is being planned on the role of MPAs in the conservation of monk seals.

Building on the results of a previous meeting, which took place during the First international Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas (Maui, March 2009), the aim of this workshop will be to further explore ways in which the MPA tool can be used to protect the two extant critically endangered representatives of Monachus which still survive in their respective Mediterranean, North Atlantic and Hawaiian habitats. Emphasis of this workshop will be to emphasize the differences of the challenges posed to conserving the two species, and on such basis to explore the pros and cons of MPA establishment, as opposed to the implementation of “conventional” conservation measures.

In order to make plans for the monk seal workshop and to allow a structuring of its programme, it would greatly help me to have an idea of who is likely to attend. If you intend participating to the ICMMPA in Martinique next November, and if you are interested in attending the monk seal workshop, I would appreciate it if you could kindly let me know. It would be also great to know if you have any direct experience in the field of monk seal MPAs and conservation (in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic or Hawaii) that you would be willing to share during the workshop.

Feedback will be particularly appreciated if sent to the email address below before the end of August, thank you.

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara — giuseppe@disciara.net

18th August, 2011

Aggressive Hawaiian monk seal escapes death sentence

Media Watch, The Garden Island, 16 August 2011

A controversial decision by federal officials to “lethally remove” an adult Hawaiian monk seal that was attacking — and apparently killing — pups at Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands had to be put on hold: The seal was nowhere to be found.

“We have basically missed our opportunity for his removal for this year, and we will begin reviewing our options for dealing with his aggression for next year,” said Charles Littnan, head of the Hawaiian monk seal research program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. […]

Source: Monk seal escapes sealed fate, The Garden Island, 16 August 2011

18th August, 2011

Fishermen oppose extra protections for Hawaiian monk seals

Media Watch, Honolulu Civil Beat, 11 August 2011

Hawaiian monk seals and local fishermen haven’t been getting along very well. And fishermen aren’t happy about a proposal to extend a conservation zone around the main Hawaiian islands to further protect the endangered species.

This was the message conveyed to representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration throughout two hours of heated testimony on Thursday at Ala Moana Beach Park.

More than 60 people turned out for the public hearing to discuss the proposal that would expand the critical habitat area for the seals, which have been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1976. It is illegal to harass or kill the seals. […]

But the plight of the monk seal hasn’t swayed many fishermen, if the testimony at the public hearing is any indication.

“They’re more of a nuisance than anything else right now,” said Brandon Hu. “I fish a lot at night. One of those seals started hiding under my boat. It takes fish from my lines, then my partner’s line. We’re losing fish left and right. We moved three miles down the coast. The monk seal started following us. They are already trained to be looking for our boats for a free handout.”

While only 153 monk seals are believed to be trolling the waters around the main Hawaiian islands, fishermen complained about the economic effects the seals were having on their fishing operations and their concern about the population growing. […]

Source: Fishermen oppose extra protections for Hawaiian monk seals, Honolulu Civil Beat, 11 August 2011

14th August, 2011

Monk seal to be killed at Kure Atoll reported missing

Media Watch, Hawaii News Now, 12 August 2011

Scientists who planned to kill a monk seal at Kure Atoll can’t find the animal.

They were supposed to leave the island on Thursday, but decided to stay until Friday [12 August] to continue the search for the aggressive male seal. […]

Source: Monk seal to be killed at Kure Atoll reported missing, Hawaii News Now, 12 August 2011