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Monday, May 31, 2010

Akule Fishing Damages Reef in West Hawaii

Last week, an attempt to net a school of akule (bigeye scad) off Keauhou in West Hawaii resulted in damage to the reef, as was reported in the West Hawaii Today newspaper.  Several community members were there to get photos and document the incident, which is currently under investigation.

This is an opportunity to highlight Hawaii's Fishing Regulations, particularly HAR 13-95 "Coral and Live Rocks:"

Stony coral
Unlawful to take, break or damage, with any implement, any stony coral from the waters of the State, including any reef or mushroom coral.
Unlawful to sell or offer for sale any stony coral.
HAR 13-95

This incident also demonstrates the value of community participation in the monitoring, reporting and enforcement process.

Here are a few additional photos of the incident courtesy of photographer Bo Pardau:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Honu in Need of Assistance in Ahihi Kinau Area

This photo was taken Sunday.  Notice the fishing line wrapped around the front flipper and mouth.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More Cigarette Butt Litterbugs!

In a recent post, Hawaii EcoTube featured the Statewide Litter Hotline (888-592-2522) and posted a photo of a vehicle whose driver was seen tossing a smoldering cigarette out the window. As a result of Hawaii EcoTube and facebook sharing, many people are now aware of this hotline, and a new facebook group, Hawaii Litterbug Hall of Shame, was created. The facebook page encourages users to upload their own photos of littering in action.

Here are the latest user-submitted photos of vehicles whose drivers were seen throwing cigarette butts out their windows... the first three were all submitted by a Maui resident, who took the photos and reported them to the hotline all within an hour and a half time span today!

Cigarette Butt Bust #1: 
Date & Time: 5/6/10 at 12:00 noon.
Location: Kahului Maui. Ka'ahumanu Ave; car seen pulling into driveway at 752 Kea St.
Vehicle Description: White Toyota Camry, license plate MCS 632

Cigarette Butt Bust #2: 
Date & Time: 5/6/10 at 12:05 pm. 
Location: Kahului Maui. Vehicle pulled into shell gas station at Puunene and Kamehameha and threw cigarette out the window in the parking lot.
Vehicle Description: Green Ford Explorer, license plate MPM 744.

Cigarette Butt Bust #3: 
Date & Time: 5/6/10 at 1:23 pm. 
Location: Central Maui. South end of Mokulele Hwy 1/2 mile before N. Kihei rd.
Vehicle Description: Gray Ford F150 4-door, license plate MPF 133.

 Cigarette Butt Bust #4: 
Date & Time: 4/28/10 at 4:30 pm.
Location: Kona, Hawaii Island. Vehicle driving north on Alii Drive, by Lunapule Rd in Kona.
Vehicle Description: Dark green Chrysler Aspen, license plate HKS 528

Cigarette Butt Bust #5: 
Date & Time: 4/14/10 at 7:15 am.
Location: Kihei, Maui. Vehicle heading south on South Kihei Road, by Kamaole II Beach Park
Vehicle Description: Dark Green Toyota 4Runner; license plate MSY 740

Remember to call in your sightings to the Litter Hotline, and if you can get a photo, send them to us at Hawaii EcoTube, and feel free to post them to the Facebook page as well!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A nomination to Hawaii's Litterbug Hall of Shame

Seen today, April 8th, 2010 at 0745; a red Mazda with tinted windows, license MRJ 727; heading north on Hwy 30 towards Wailuku - the driver was seen tossing a lit cigarette out the window which continued to smolder on the highway.

Did you know that there is a Statewide Litter Hotline for Hawaii?

The number is: 1-888-592-2522

"If you witness someone littering from their vehicle, call the statewide litter hotline, give the description of the vehicle, license plate number, location, date & time of the incident, and a letter will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle."

Watch this PSA about the program and the hotline:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Remains of a camp fire at Poli Poli??

We happened across this scene on the road up to the Kula State Forest on our way up for a hike and sunset dinner. It was located midway between the Poli Poli frisbee golf area (lower edge of the tree line) and the hunting keosk. The boxes and beer cans were strewn about, and the ashes were still smoldering. On our way back down, it was obvious that someone had already taken the initiative to clean up, as the boxes were neatly stacked and the cans were picked up.
These photos were taken on Sunday 3/21/10 at Poli Poli. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Seen at Costco in Hawaii Kai, Oahu...

A Hawaii EcoTube fan shopping at Costco in Hawaii Kai, Oahu, noticed both Orange Roughy and Chilean Sea Bass side-by-side in the freezer section, and submitted the photos below. Both these species are listed as "AVOID" by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.

Here is a link to the online form to submit comments and feedback to Costco.


Here is a link to Seafood Watch's page on Orange Roughy, which includes the following information:
 A deep-sea fish also known as the “slimehead,” orange roughy grows slowly and reproduces late in life. These traits make it especially vulnerable to overfishing. 
Consumer Note: Orange roughy lives 100 years or more—so the fillet in your freezer might be from a fish older than your grandmother!

Health Alert: Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for orange roughy due to high levels of mercury.

Summary: Years of heavy fishing have decimated orange roughy populations. Although there are fishery management plans in place, scientists predict it could take decades for populations to recover.

Another concern with orange roughy is the way it’s caught. Bottom trawls are problematic, causing damage to seafloor habitat, especially in the fragile, deep-sea ecosystems where orange roughy live. For these reasons, orange roughy are ranked as a species to “Avoid.” 

Here is a link to the page on the Chilean Sea Bass, a.k.a "Patagonian Toothfish" which includes the following:
Chilean seabass is severely overfished and is rated “Avoid.” In addition, most Chilean seabass in the U.S. market come from boats that are fishing illegally and using unmodified bottom longlines. This unmodified fishing gear hooks and drowns thousands of seabirds each year, most notably endangered albatross.
Health Alert: Environmental Defense Fund has issued a health advisory for Chilean seabass due to high levels of mercury.

Summary: Slow-growing fish that reproduce late in life, Chilean seabass are naturally vulnerable to overfishing. The fishing methods used to catch these deep water fish cause more problems: bottom trawling can damage seafloor habitat, and miles of baited longline gear can fatally hook and drown endangered albatross and other seabirds. Since Chilean seabass live in remote Antarctic waters, law enforcement is difficult and large numbers of boats fish these waters illegally, without proper permits or gear. As a result, most Chilean seabass is fished unsustainably and should be avoided.

However, a small fishery exists that has made improvements in their fishing gear - to reduce seabird bycatch, and in their management plan - to end overfishing. In March 2004, the South Georgia Patagonian Toothfish Longline Fishery was certified as sustainable to the standard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Since only a small portion of the Chilean seabass available in the U.S. is MSC certified, consumers must be very careful. Each location that sells MSC products, including all restaurants and grocery stores, are required to have the MSC "Chain of Custody" certification. Legitimate purveyors should be able to produce this document when asked and, without this proof, consumers should assume the fish in not certified and shouldn’t make the purchase. 

UPDATE 3/12/10: The Chilean Sea Bass was seen in the Maui Costco as well. The label did not show any type of certification logo. The text read: "To ensure the health of this precious resource, Orca Bay procures Sea Bass from certified harvesters adhering to a strictly managed quota system."

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monk Seal Interaction on Maui II: A Perception.

The original purpose of the post was to provide a forum for education, awareness and action. We will address a few things in response to some of the comments and feedback that have been received, then move on to provide further context in keeping with the purpose of the post.

We took a respectful and objective approach in the blog post. We did not name the company involved, nor did we make statements or judgments concerning the actions taken by the company or their guests. We did not intend to make any specific implications; we simply posted the video as a platform for education.
Here is some additional context, and several "take home messages" that we hope all who are reading this post will focus on:
Monk seals are critically endangered, and our actions can have a negative effect on their survival. The seal seen in the video is a known individual (R042), whose behavior is consistent with that of an animal which has become habituated to humans. Because people did things like feed, swim with, and pet her, she was encouraged to be "friendly" and started treating humans as she would another seal. This behavior was continually reinforced through ongoing interaction with humans. As the seal grew older and larger, what may have been considered "friendly" behavior on the seal's part was actually more reminiscent of rough play towards humans. In the video, the seal wasn't trying to "attack" the diver as the narrator states, but rather just wanted to play; this behavior is due to its earlier and unnatural interaction with humans. Because of this habituation and the increasing incidents of rough play, the seal ultimately and unfortunately had to be relocated.
A key point to make is that it is very important that people consistently follow the guidelines presented in the post below, ESPECIALLY during the first two years of a seal's life, which are highly-formative. In addition, feeding the seals at any time is particularly detrimental. With more and more pups being born around the Main Hawaiian Islands, we have a stewardship role to play, and should do our best to inform others throughout the community on HOW to take action to protect these animals. Facilitating that type of response is what we'd hoped to accomplish through this post on Hawaii EcoTube.
Hawaii Ecotube

This video, which has already received nearly 3,000 views on YouTube, has provided an excellent opportunity for education concerning best practices for interacting with this critically-endangered species of marine mammal.

Here is a link to the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' page on the Hawaiian monk seal.

The following guidelines were presented during the Fall 2009 session of Ocean Awareness Training on Maui, and were designed to help keep Hawaiian monk seals "alive and wild."


• Maintain a distance of at least 150 ft from the seal

• Don’t feed the seal

• No eye contact with the seal

• Do not try to get the seal’s attention

• If the seal approaches you, ignore the seal and quickly move away on land or exit the water

In addition, the following is an excerpt concerning monk seals taken from the document "Voluntary Standard for Recreational Wildlife Interactions in West Hawaii Waters," developed by a multi-stakeholder community-based taskforce in West Hawaii in a consensus-based project facilitated by the Coral Reef Alliance:

4.8 Monk Seal interactions

4.8.1 Pets shall be kept on a leash at all times in the presence of seals. Seals can be aggressive and have been known to bite dogs.

4.8.2 When viewing a monk seal on the beach, observe from a respectable distance (the recommended distance is 150 feet away) and limit observation time to one-half hour.

4.8.3 Never attempt to swim with, touch or feed a Hawaiian monk seal. They are wild animals and have been known to be aggressive and bite humans.  If a monk seal approaches while you are in the water, exit the water as soon and as safely possible.

4.8.4 Marine Mammal Stranding/Entanglement Hotline: 1-888-256-9840 or Hawaiian Monk Seal Sightings Hotline (808) 220-7802.

Please review and follow these guidelines, and help the seals by spreading the word about proper protocol!