Headlines – News – Articles
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

Opposition to monk seal plan voiced at meeting

Media Watch, Maui News, 17 September 2011

A federal plan to help the survival of the endangered monk seal population ran into stiff opposition Thursday night, especially from Hana fishermen and Native Hawaiians concerned the proposed regulations would hamper their ability to fish.

“Fishing is not a sport in Hana,” said 16-year-old Malia Kahuhu. “We need these fish to eat.” […]

Those speaking out said the draft regulations could lead to closed-off ocean “iceboxes” – just to accommodate the fish-eating seals they compete with for their supper.

However, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials responded that their proposals would not create closures or restrictions.

Instead, NOAA Marine Mammal Branch Chief Jeff Walters said officials are looking at relocating the seals to promote their reproduction. And, they want to create community partnerships, such as working with fishermen to find sick seals, he added. [Continues]

Source: Opposition to monk seal plan voiced at meeting, by Chris Hamilton, Maui News, 17 September 2011

4th September, 2011

Fishermen express doubts on NOAA’s translocation plans

Media Watch, KITV (via YouTube), 31 August 2011

Local fishermen feel a federal proposal to bring 20 monk seal pups to the main Hawaiian Islands will have a devastating impact on the ecosystem and the economy.

Source: KITV (via YouTube), 31 August 2011

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

28th August, 2011

Native to Hawaii

Media Watch, The Molokai Dispatch, 24 August 2011

The Hawaiian Monk Seals are endangered species that need to be restored because they are native, and it is out kuleana as Hawaiians to help save them. The Hawaiian Monk Seal is pre-historic and have been swimming these oceans for about 10,000,000 years. Even King Alexander LihoLiho hunted seals at Nihoa in 1857 during the time of the Hawaiian Monarchy, so that proves that the Hawaiian Monk Seals are native.

On Aug. 8 there was a Critical Habitat Meeting. At that meeting I listened to all na kupuna mana’o about the seals, some good and some bad. I heard some aunties and uncles say that the seals are no good and they eat all the fish, but we forget that the seals were here before us. [Continues]

Source: Hawaiian Monk Seals, by Danielle Mersberg, The Molokai Dispatch, 24 August 2011

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.”