Thursday, October 14, 2010

NOAA humpback whale sanctuary management plan

Photo: NOAA

Kauai lawmakers urge residents to learn more about the proposed humpback whale sanctuary management plan from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and to provide comments by October 16th.

Representative James Kunane Tokioka - House District 15, Representative Roland Sagum - House District 16, and Senator Ronald Kouchi Senate District 7, said in an email update that while they "support the protection and preservation of our endangered marine species, it is our position that any enlargement of the scope of the sanctuary's 'marine resources' should not include the closure of any fishing areas or the creation of any 'no take zones'..."

On Tuesday, October 5th, more than 300 residents, fishermen and ocean users attended a meeting at Kauai Community College regarding the proposed management plan. NOAA currently plans to explore increasing the scope of the management plan to include other "marine resources" in addition to humpback whales.

The Kauai lawmakers noted that there are numerous Federal, State and County laws that protect endangered marine species, and that the proposed increase in scope could lead to the limitation and/or cessation of ocean activities that many Kauai residents enjoy and may not be related to preserving humpback whales, Hawaiian monk seals, sea turtles, other marine mammals or the protection and repopulation of reef fish.

You may provide comments using the form provided from the fishermen. Click here to download.

Learn more about the Management Plan Review process, including how to submit comments directly to NOAA on the NOAA website. All comments must be received by October 16, 2010.

Comments may be submitted by the following methods:

Via telephone: (888) 559-4253 ex. 267

Via fax: (808) 397-2650

Via email:

Via mail: Management Plan Review Coordinator, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, 6600 Kalanianaole Highway, Suite 301, Honolulu, Hawaii 96825.

If you have questions, you may call the following for assistance:

Amy at Representative Tokioka's office: toll free 274-3141 ext. 66270
Melanie at Representative Sagum's office: toll free 274-3141 ext. 66280
Mark at Senator Kouchi's office: toll free 274-3141 ext. 66030

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