Headlines – News – Articles
2nd July, 2012

Notes from the Field

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program is posting some fascinating updates and observations on its Facebook page from its latest tour of duty among the far-flung atolls of the North Western Hawaiian Islands. Here is the latest:

Notes from the Field: Update from Laysan Island Monk Seal Team

We have hit the field running on Laysan. For a reunited, returning crew, it has been relatively easy to do just that. With the field camp up and running by the end of offload day, we were able to start surveys our second day on island.

Within the first week, we were able to tag all 21 weaned pups. Tags are placed on the hind flippers to give each seal a unique set of tags used to identify that seal throughout its life. Once these pups were tagged, it was onto the next set of priorities. → Continue reading Notes from the Field

10th December, 2011

Workshop report from Martinique

Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara, Tethys Research Institute, Milano

Photo: Georges Gavanas

A workshop on monk seal conservation issues was organised within the framework of the second International Conference on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, held in Martinique from 7-11 November 2011.  Nine experts on both extant monk seal species, from eight countries, contributed to the workshop, which I had the honour of coordinating.

The purpose of this workshop was to gather updated information on the status of both the Hawaiian and Mediterranean monk seals within their respective ranges, but in particular to explore ways in which marine protected areas (MPAs) can be used to protect these critically endangered mammals. The conditions under which monk seals survive vary greatly not only between Hawaii and the Mediterranean/North Atlantic, but also in the different localities within each species’ range. Accordingly, the tools to address the different pressures affecting monk seal status include, but are not limited to, the establishment of protected areas, and the application of these tools varies greatly between programmes.

→ Continue reading Workshop report from Martinique

29th September, 2011

Cute with consequences

Media Watch, Cute with Consequences, Honolulu Weekly, 28 September 2011

On the brink of extinction, monk seals are seen as a threat by Isle fishers

[…] Since the early 1990s, when sightings of the rare creatures became a regular appearance throughout the inhabited Hawaiian Islands, tourists have flocked to take their pictures. Monk seal images now adorn magazines, postcards, T-shirts and caps. Diligent volunteers erect barrier ropes around sun-bathing seals, track their movements and guard their pups.

Still, not everyone has warm, fuzzy feelings toward the state’s official mammal. In meetings held recently around the state, commercial, recreational and subsistence fishers and other ocean users made it clear they’re running short of aloha for the rapidly dwindling species, primarily because they’re worried about how federal plans to save it may impact them.

“When people get upset over here, they’re gonna kill ‘em, and that’s a fact, bottom line,” testified Kauai resident Kalani Kapuniai at a Sept. 17 hearing on a draft programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) that calls for temporarily moving young seals from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) to undisclosed sites in the main Islands. Two monk seals were shot on Kauai in 2009, “and we were told that there were others that were never reported,” said Carl Berg, a member of Surfrider Foundation’s Kauai chapter. [Continues]

Source: Cute with Consequences, Joan Conrow, Honolulu Weekly, Cover Story, 28 September 2011

19th September, 2011

Recovering a species

Media Watch, The Molokai Dispatch, 19th September 2011

Actions proposed to assist monk seal survival

[…] In a hearing about the PEIS held on Molokai last Thursday, community members and fishermen offered their opinion on the proposals. Many expressed concerns about the large amount of fish Hawaiian monk seals eat – fish that they say could be going to feed their families. […]

More than 50 residents attended the hearing, and many testified before NMFS representatives and monk seal researchers. Many offered first-hand experience in encountering seals while fishing. Others were frustrated with the lack of local and cultural representation within the NMFS and in the PEIS document. […]

One of the [alternative] proposals considered by NMFS officials was the development of a facility in the NWHI for the seals, protected from the dangers that threaten their survival. [NOAA Hawaiian monk seal recovery coordinator Jeff] Walters said this proposal was dismissed because of prohibitive costs and logistical challenges. [Resident and Molokai Planning Commissioner Lori] Buchanan said she thinks that alternative should still be considered, as no mention was made of what it would actually cost to carry out this option. [Continues]

Source: Recovering a species, Catherine Cluett, The Molokai Dispatch, 19th September 2011

18th September, 2011

Conflicting conservation objectives in a large marine reserve

Recent Publications

Leah R. Gerber, James Estes, Tara Gancos Crawford, Lindsey E. Peavey, Andrew J. Read. 2011. Managing for extinction? Conflicting conservation objectives in a large marine reserve. Conservation Letters 00 (2011) 1–6. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00197.x [PDF 238 KB]

4th September, 2011

NOAA clarifies language in impact statement newsletter

Recent Publications

NOAA has released a revised newsletter for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions Programmatic Impact Statement (PEIS). In an accompanying explanation, NOAA states: “The revisions aim to provide clearer language about the proposed alternatives evaluated in the PEIS. Language was changed on page 2 of the newsletter to clarify what Alternatives 1, 2, and 3 would not include.”

NOAA. 2011. Hawaiian monk seal recovery actions. Programmatic environmental impact statement. NOAA Fisheries, Pacific Islands Region. August 2011, Newsletter # 2, Revision # 1: 1-6. [PDF 209 KB]

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.”