|Humpback whales are returning to Hawaiian waters. Photo courtesy of NOAA|
The staff of the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary reminds boaters and other ocean users to keep a safe distance from the humpback whales. The whales travel annually to Hawaiian waters to give birth to their young and spend the winter before heading north to Alaskan and Canadian waters where they spend the summer feeding.
According to NOAA, federal regulations prohibit all ocean users - vessel operators, kayakers, paddle boarders, windsurfers, swimmers and divers throughout the Hawaiian Islands – from approaching within 100 yards of whales when on the water, and 1,000 feet when operating an aircraft. Humpback season generally runs from November to May, when up to 12,000 whales each year migrate to Hawaiian waters.
“It’s important for everyone to be extra vigilant during whale season, for their own safety and the protection of these magnificent animals,” said Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary operations coordinator Paul Wong.
People are also being called to report distressed animals. “By locating distressed animals, reporting and providing the initial documentation and assessment on the animal, ocean users are the foundation of our conservation efforts,” says marine mammal response manager for the sanctuary Ed Lyman.
Anyone who comes across an injured or entangled marine mammal is asked to maintain the required safe distance and call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840 or the U.S. Coast Guard on channel 16. Reports of a suspected approach zone violation are asked to call NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964. Additional guidelines and safety tips can be found at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.
LETTERS FROM THE PUBLIC omitted from the online publication of the Nani Kahuku `Aina Draft Environmental Impact Statement are now posted.
RICK WARSHAUER, of Volcano, asked, “Is it fiscally responsible for government officials and commission members to recommend and grant land use approvals when there is a good chance that the development might not progress, but the county still be required to provide services implied by such approvals?”
Warshauer described a situation in Puna, where he says “over 50,000 house lots were approved over a short period of time, but the county has not kept up with expected public improvements in the area.”
Resort planner Dean Minakami responded, “Please be aware that all our infrastructure associated with Kahuku Village, including roadways, sewer, water, and drainage systems, will be privately constructed and maintained at no cost to the county.”
Minakami claims that the development would have a net fiscal benefit for the county by bringing in increased tax revenues.
ROB SHALLENBERGER wrote as a director of The Nature Conservancy Hawai`i Island. He asked for more detail on a proposed ahupua`a stewardship program. “I hope that the DEIS will provide substantially more data regarding agricultural uses of the property, including the opportunity for bioenergy projects.”
Minakami replied that planners considered agriculture and growth of feedstock on the land for a bio-energy facility, but that the agricultural potential there is “very limited.”
A MEETING ON THE Nani Kahuku `Aina development will be held at Miloli`i tomorrow, sponsored by Pa`a Pono Miloli`i at 2:30 p.m. at the Halau - the Miloli`i Pavilion. The organization is calling for more community involvement in reviewing the plan to change land to Urban designation from Conservation along the coast between South Point and Ocean View Ranchos to create a development called Kahuku Village. The meeting will be followed by a presentation by Conservation International and Pa`a Pono Miloli`i on a marine conservation program.
INNOVATIONS DEVELOPMENT GROUP, the Native-to-Native company working on geothermal in New Zealand, is holding a meeting today regarding potential locations for additional geothermal to make electricity for this island. The meeting will feature Mililani Trask, an attorney and principal in the hui; Bob Lindsey, trustee for the Big Island for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Wally Ishibashi, of ILWU Local 142 and member of the Geothermal Working Group; and Richard Ha, co-chair of the Geothermal Working Group. Today’s meeting is at 6 p.m. at Kealakehe High School in Kona.
|Manila Extract is celebrating National Coffee Day.|
Photo by Tanya Kearns