Headlines – News – Articles
17th November, 2011

Japan tsunami debris threatens Hawaiian monk seal

Media Watch, The Mainichi Daily News, 16 November 2011

Hawaii’s environment could be in danger as debris from Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March, including lumber and home appliances adrift in the Pacific, has been approaching, researchers said at a meeting in Honolulu on Monday.

“The larger the piece, the more dangerous the piece,” said Nikolai Maximenko of the International Pacific Research Center at the meeting on mitigating the impact of the debris on coastlines.

Large debris could damage reefs and shore-side facilities, while small debris could pollute beaches and injure endangered species such as the Hawaiian monk seal, said speakers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and marine cleanup groups. […]

Source: Scientists warn Japan tsunami debris endangering Hawaii, The Mainichi Daily News, 16 November 2011

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]

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]

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