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Monday, July 27, 2009

P.S.A. on Hawaii's Reefs from Kihei Youth Center

Hawaii Ecotube is proud to post this (with more to come) Public Service Announcement from the kids of Kihei Youth Center.

The clips in this video were filmed and edited by the youth of Kihei Youth Center, who spent hours doing shore snorkels as well as several trips sponsored by Trilogy Excursions.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do you think Hawaii's Coral Reefs are valuable?

"The tour operator also disputed the state's contention that the coral was valuable."

Proposal would lower fine for coral reef damage
POSTED: July 21, 2009

HONOLULU - The state is proposing to reduce a fine to a Maui tour boat operator from $542,950 to $130,000 - a reduction of more than 75 percent - for damaging coral off the coast of the Maui Prince Hotel in July and August 2007.

The proposed settlement is on the agenda for the state Board of Land and Natural Resources' meeting Wednesday, starting at 9 a.m. in the land board's conference room in the Kalanimoku Building in Honolulu.

The board imposed the heavier fine Oct. 24 after it found Makena Boat Partners killed, damaged or dislodged 538 individual coral colonies when its Kai Kanani catamaran dropped anchor off shore of the hotel.

Responding to a complaint, officials with the department's Division of Aquatic Resources inspected and found the boat's heavy chain had dragged along the bottom, scouring and knocking over the coral reef.

Lawyers for Makena Boat Partners immediately appealed the board's decision by requesting a contested case hearing, which was granted. Attorneys for the tour operator also petitioned the U.S. District Court for exoneration from or limitation of any liability. The contested case proceeding was stopped, pending a resolution of the federal case.

Through negotiations between the state and Makena Boat Partners, the parties agreed that the tour operator would pay $127,621.75 to the state's Commercial Fisheries Special Fund, plus administrative costs of $2,378.25.

"Staff believes the settlement value of $130,000 represents a fair resolution of the pending dispute," a staff report to the board said, noting that the original fine was the maximum amount the panel could have imposed.

Now, the proposed settlement "reflects staff's detailed evaluation of the value of resources damaged. Staff believes that the proposed settlement amount properly balances the extent of harm caused to the stony corals, the ecological service value of the coral specimens and the relative value of the overall area impacted.

"Staff is also in favor of the proposed settlement due to the uncertainties and risks of litigating this matter in the federal courts," the report said.

It also says the settlement "compares favorably" with the resolution of the Kai Anela case, which was settled in September for $396,915, "given the relative quality of the impacted resource." At the time, it was the largest fine imposed for damaging coral.

The Kai Anela was a dive boat operated by Maui Snorkel Charters Inc., which operates as the Maui Dive Shop. The 32-foot boat sank twice, once in September 2006 and again two days later when it was being raised for salvage. Both times it crushed the reef, damaging an estimated 1,230 to 1,494 coral colonies in a 14,600-square-foot area.

Maui Dive Shop also had its permit to operate within the Molokini Shoal Marine Life Conservation District suspended for three months.

The damage from the Kai Kanani occurred when it dropped anchor on a coral reef in July 2007 to make room for a second boat, the Kai Kanani II, at the permitted mooring.

The second boat had been brought over from the Caribbean, and the Kai Kanani was to have been donated to the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Makena Boat Partners objected to the state's research methods and its assessment of damage caused by the Kai Kanani's anchor and chain. The tour operator also disputed the state's contention that the coral was valuable.

In November 2007, Makena Boat Partners paid criminal penalties of $200 for damage to stony coral and $200 for damage to live rock in a case prosecuted in District Court.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hawaii Ecotube's July Ecohero Nominations are Coming In!

Aloha kakou,
I like to nominate Pauline Fine for July´s EcoHeroes 2009.First she´s shared her immense knowledge about the ocean during the C.O.R.A.L card workshop in may.But I´m also impressed, meeting her continuously early in the morning, cleaning up an area in Kalama Park.For me she is an allday heroe, being pono every day without making big noise about it.
Mahalo Anadebi

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

June EcoHero nominations: Vote now!

Hawaii EcoTube would like to announce the June nominees for EcoHeroes:

Honu Heroes ... read more here.

Katie Velasquez ...whose Letter to the Editor kicked off the shark fin soup response in Hawaii.

Please cast your vote in the poll to the right.

And start sending us your nominations for July's EcoHeroes! Email us at:

A message from our May Hawaii EcoHero!

We would like to share this message from May's Hawaii EcoHero Robin Bond, Jr.
Message From Robin Bond Jr.

And the winner is...

Hawaii EcoTube would like to congratulate the winner of the May EcoHero contest... Robin Bond, Jr.!