Archive for June, 2016

Kupu out in force

By
June 23rd, 2016



These youth from Kupu Hawaii will be out in full force doing conservation work this summer as part of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps program. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

These youth from Kupu Hawaii will be out in full force doing conservation work this summer as part of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps program. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

This summer, several hundred students from Kupu Hawaii, a non-profit based in Kakaako, will be out in full force, doing conservation work throughout the Hawaiian isles.

They'll be participating in paid internships as part of the Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps that give them hands-on experience restoring fishponds and wetlands, removing invasive species from natural area reserves and helping to protect seabirds on Maui. Read some of their stories right here.

John Leong, executive director of Kupu Hawaii, said: "It's inspiring their potential toward green jobs and conservation opportunities in life, but also empowering them as people. To get a sense of kuleana for our state, for our communities."

Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Courtesy Kupu Hawaii/ Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Courtesy Kupu Hawaii/ Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii recently invited emerging environmental leaders to its 7th Annual Environmental Fair in early June at their Kewalo Training Facility in Kakaako.

Among the 150 partner organizations on hand at the fair were the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Lyon Arboretum, Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, Oahu Invasive Species Committee and Hui o Ko‘olaupoko to speak with the prospective interns.

Three Kupu alumni — Molly Mamaril, Jayleen Marar and Ronnie "Keoni" Kikila shared stories of how internships lead them to real-life conservation jobs. The sound system was operated by Pedal Power Hawaii.

Nicole Fisher and Molly Mamaril, speaker, at Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Photo courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

Nicole Fisher and Molly Mamaril, speaker, at Kupu Hawaii's Environmental Fair. Photo courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

>Molly Mamaril, a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fellow with Kupu's RISE program in 2014, went on to work for the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and master's in natural resources and environmental management, she writes for Green magazine and coordinates Hawaii Investment Ready.

> Jayleen Marar, a recent Farrington High School graduate who joined Kupu as a program member to get on-the-job training. Marr received the "MOst Outstanding Intern" award and worked with Opterra Energy Services, conducting energy audits at schools for the state Department of Education'sKa Hei program.

>> Ronnie "Keoni" Kikala, once a troubled teen, completed his Kupu internship with the Lyon Arboretum's Pahole Rare Plant Facility. He continues to work part-time at Lyon while pursuing a degree from Windward Community College. He has since found his calling and passion in life for conserving rare and native plants.

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Environmental Fair speakers and Kupu alumni, Ronnie Kikala, left and Jayleen Marar, right. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii's mission is "to empower youth to serve their communities through character-building, service-learning and environmental stewardship opportunities that encourage integrity with God (Ke Akua), self and others."

Paid internships as a Kupu Environmental Leader in Conservation, Environmental Education and Community Development are available, with benefits that include a monthly allowance of $1,300 or more, plus a $5,765 education award. Visit Kupu Hawaii's Facebook page to learn more.

Kupu Hawaii interns learning about the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

Kupu Hawaii's summer interns learning about the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology. Photos courtesy Kupu Hawaii/Samuel Apuna.

Posted in Conservation, Green events, Green jobs, Green non-profits | Comments Off on Kupu out in force

Off the hook

By
June 14th, 2016



Hawaiian monk seal RK90 with a hook lodged in its mouth. NOAA's rescue team was able to remove the hook and save her in 2013. Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

Hawaiian monk seal RK90 with a hook lodged in its mouth. NOAA's rescue team was able to remove the hook and save her in 2013. Photo courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

There's a simple way that fishermen and fisherwomen in Hawaii can help the Hawaiian monk seals and other marine mammals — by converting to a barbless circle hook.

At the 13th annual Tokunaga Ulua Challenge Fishing Tournament weigh-in on Sunday, every fish caught with a barbless circle hook was given a special sticker, according to a news release from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Kurt Kawamoto, aka Mr. Barbless Hook, is the driving force behind the NOAA and DLNR Barbless Circle Hook Project. The program encourages the fishing community to opt for barbless hooks to reduce potential injury to marine mammals like Hawaiian monk seals in the event of an accidental hooking or entanglement. It also allows for a quicker release, but is still capable of catching ulua and other tournament-worthy fish weighing in at 100 pounds or more.

"We caught over 300 shoreline fish, of many different kinds," said Kawamoto, a fisherman himself. "We looked at the catches, losses and misses and statistically we couldn't tell the difference. Essentially you could catch just as many fish with a barbless circle hook."

It's pretty simple. To make a barbless circle hook, use a crimper or parallel-jawed pliers to flatten the barb.

Barbed hook, left, becomes a barbless circle hook. right. Courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

Barbed hook, left, becomes a barbless circle hook. right. Courtesy NOAA Fisheries.

"Once you smash down the barbs on these hooks they become self-shedding, so that was the main idea behind it," said Kawamoto in the press release. "It's easy for a fish, or a seal or a turtle to get rid of the hook themselves."

Researchers have witnessed a monk seal actually shed a barbless circle hook and anglers have relayed stories about sea turtles doing the same.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program team recently extricated a barbed, circle hook from the throat of a juvenile female seal from Kauai over Kamehameha Day weekend.

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If the Tokunaga fishing competition was any indication, barbless circle hooks are still capable of getting a pretty good catch. An estimated 50 percent of the 637 contestants this year catch their fish using barbless circle hooks. Last year, the winning ulua was caught with a barbless hook. This year, the winning omilu was caught by a woman using a barbless hook.

Related video:

Posted in Marine Life | Comments Off on Off the hook

#oceanfriendlyhi restaurants

By
June 8th, 2016



The Medi Bowl - Kalo falafel, fire-roasted baba ganoush, beet hummus, refreshing millet tabouleh over a bed of greens drizzled with a special herb tahini sauce - is served up in a wood bowl at the Ai Love Nalo Restaurant in Waimanalo. Photo by Bruce Asato.

The Medi Bowl - Kalo falafel, fire-roasted baba ganoush, beet hummus, refreshing millet tabouleh over a bed of greens drizzled with a special herb tahini sauce - is served up in a wood bowl at the ‘Ai Love Nalo Restaurant in Waimanalo. Photo by Bruce Asato.

Restaurants in Hawaii can still offer takeout in polystyrene foam clamshells and plastic bags, but some are opting not to.

On World Oceans Day today (June 8, 2016), certified Ocean Friendly Restaurants, part of a new initiative launched by various non-profit groups, will offer discounts and specials if you feature them with #oceanfriendlyhi.

The Surfrider Foundation, in partnership with the Maui Huliau Foundation and Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation and Rise Above Plastics Coalition, is celebrating the statewide launch of the Ocean Friendly Restaurants program today.

What is a certified Ocean Friendly Restaurant?

It’s a restaurant that has agreed to reduce the amount of disposable plastics it offers to customers and to make sincere efforts to adopt sustainable practices for the health of our oceans.

Smoothies and this poi parfait with fresh fruits, poi and coconut flakes are served up in mason jars at Ai Love Nalo. Photo by Nina Wu.

Smoothies and this poi parfait with fresh fruits, poi and coconut flakes are served up in mason jars at Ai Love Nalo. Photo by Nina Wu.

Restaurants must, for example, agree not to use polystyrene foam for food take-out containers and offer reusable tableware for in-house diners (many offer in-house diners disposables out of convenience) as well as follow proper recycling practices. There is no fee to participate.

They must also follow at least three of the following five practices:

> Offer plastic straws only upon request or replace them with compostable straws;

> Offer all recyclable or compostable take-out beverage containers;

> Provide non-plastic takeout bags only upon request;

> Provide only compostable utensils for take-out upon request;

> Agree not sell beverages in plastic bottles.

“All of us need to have responsibility, whether it’s the producer or the consumer or the government,” said Rafael Bergstrom, Oahu chapter coordinator of the Surfrider Foundation. “The only way we’re going to make change getting single-use products out of our waste stream is if it’s bought into at all levels.”

While consumers are still encouraged to say no to straws, bring their own reusable water bottles and bags, Surfrider wanted to recognize businesses that were “doing the right thing already," even if not legally required to do so.

The new program started with Surfrider’s San Diego chapter and began making its way across the isles in April.

Ocean Friendly Restaurants in Hawaii include about 50 well-known names, including Ai Love Nalo, Downbeat Diner, Chef Chai, The Counter at Kahala Mall, Wahoo’s Fish Taco and Cholo’s in Haleiwa.

On Maui, some popular spots include the Market Fresh Bistro in Makawao, Cafe Des Amis in Paia and Bamboo Fresh in Lahaina and in Hilo, Pineapple's Fresh Island Cuisine and Le Magic Pan.

If restaurants comply with all eight criteria, like the Kona Brewing Co., they’ll be certified as a platinum level Ocean FriendlyRestaurant.

The focus is currently on reducing plastic pollution from getting into the waste stream, and not so much on sourcing food from local farms or sustainable seafood, though many Ocean Friendly Restaurants also adopt those practices. Down the line, Bergstrom said the initiative might recognize these as well.

Participating restaurants get a “We Are an Ocean Friendly Restaurant” decal to display, promotion via the website and Facebook page and rack cards to help educate customers. Volunteers from the non-profit groups are certifying the restaurants. Nominations are accepted online at oceanfriendlyrestaurantshawaii.org.

Follow @oceanfriendlyrestaurants on Instagram for updates.

Posted in Marine Life, Ocean, Plastic, World Oceans Day | Comments Off on #oceanfriendlyhi restaurants

Coastlines full of plastic

By
June 6th, 2016



Most of the marine debris in the Hawaiian isles is made up of plastic, very small pieces of plastic. Courtesy DLNR.

Most of the marine debris in the Hawaiian isles is made up of plastic, very small pieces of plastic. Courtesy DLNR.

It's confirmed. Most of the marine debris landing on Hawaii's shores is made up of — plastics. Very small plastics.

An aerial survey by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and North Pacific Marine Science Organization of all coastlines in the eight main Hawaiian islands shows that plastics constitute most of the marine debris landing on our shores.

The sparsely populated island of Niihau had the highest concentration of debris, at 38 percent, compared to Oahu, which had the lowest, at 5 percent.

A very limited amount of debris was associated with the Japan tsumani, according to DLNR chair Suzanne Case. The study was funded by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan as part of the Japan Tsunami Gift Fund.

Multiple photos were captured every 0.7 seconds from a Cessna 206 about 2,000 feet above ground.

"Most of what was mapped is common, everyday items that someone haphazardly tossed onto the ground or directly into the water," said Case. "These items get caught up in ocean currents and unfortunately much of it eventually lands, mostly on north and east facing shores. Hawaii is recognized around the world for our beautiful beaches. Unfortunately we cannot say they are pristine, because they've been so seriously impacted by our trash."

The following is a synopsis of the full report which used imagery analysis for the aerial survey conducted between August and November 2015.  (from highest to lowest):

Niihau — Identified a total of 7,871 pieces of marine debris. Most of it was plastic (46 percent), followed by buoys and floats (35 percent). The greatest density of debris were found on east-facing shores.

Molokai — Identified a total of 2,878 piece of marine debris, 37 percent plastic, 35 percent buoys and floats. Concentrated on the northwestern shores and a small area on the northeastern corner of the Friendly Isle.

Hawaii — Identified a total of 2,200 pieces of marine debris, 52 percent plastic. Concentrated on the southeastern tip of the island around Kamilo Point.

Kauai — Identified a total of 1,849 pieces of marine debris, 49 percent plastic, concentrated on the eastern shores.

Lanai — Identified a total of 1,829 piece of marine debris, 53 percent plastic, concentrated on the northeast coast.

Maui — Identified a total of 1,749 pieces of marine debris, 40 percent plastic, concentrated on the northern side around Kahului.

Kahoolawe — Identified a total of 1,298 pieces of marine debris, 47 percent plastic, concentrated on the northern tip of the island and the Keoneuli area on the eastern coast.

Oahu — Identified a total of 984 pieces of marine debris, 63 percent plastic, concentrated on the northern tip around Kahuku.

Boat that landed on Hawaii shores from the Japan tsunami. Courtesy DLNR.

Boat that landed on Hawaii shores from the Japan tsunami. Courtesy DLNR.

On March 11, 2011, the Tohoku Earthquake and resulting tsunami devastated Japan, creating millions of tons of debris that got swept into the ocean. The first confirmed tsunami-related debris that landed on Hawaii's shores was a blue plastic, fishing container on Sept. 18, 2012 off Makapuu. Since then, 21 vessels and an assortment of buoys, fishing containers, signs and other items have been recovered in Hawaii.

Plastic debris, Kahuku Beach on Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

Plastic debris, Kahuku Beach on Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

Wildlife become entangled in nets and lines, or mistakenly eat pieces of plastic and foam, confusing them for food. The report (p. 41) includes photos of endangered monk seals on Niihau resting on beaches littered with marine debris, including plastic and derelict fishing gear.

Marine debris. Courtesy DLNR.

Marine debris. Courtesy DLNR.

The debris was classified into seven categories, including buoys and floats, foam, derelict fishing gear, plastic, tires, other (includes processed wood, metal, cloth, abandoned boats) and inconclusive. Below, some plastic debris and a tire.

Marine debris, Kahuku, north shore of Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

Marine debris, Kahuku, north shore of Oahu. Courtesy DLNR.

The most common type of debris found on all islands was plastic, making up 47 percent of the overall composition of debris identified, and at least 37 percent of the debris on any individual island.

On Oahu, Hawaii's most populous island, marine debris was concentrated on the northern tip of the island, on the east-facing shore between the northernmost point and Kahuku area. But a whopping 63 percent was identified as plastic. It's possible that the lower concentration of marine debris on Oahu reflects continuous beach clean-up efforts by local residents and conservation organizations, according to former DLNR Marine Debris Coordinator Kirsten Moy.

Kahuku

So what are the next steps? To use the data to organize and plan cleanup efforts, as well as to develop a community-accessible database to distribute the debris data and track removal efforts throughout the isles.

Related video featuring Kirsten Moy, DLNR's former Marine Debris Coordinator (courtesy DLNR):

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