Author Archive

IUCN Spotlight: Hawaiian monk seals

By
August 25th, 2016



Hawaiian monk seal pup Niho‘ole resting on the beach at Papahanaumokuakea. Photo courtesy NOAA. Permit 16632.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho‘ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho`ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

The NOAA Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program recently transported four malnourished Hawaiian monk seals, classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List, from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to a monk seal rehabilitation center in Kona, Hawaii.

Among them are prematurely weaned pups, including Niho‘ole, pictured above, as well as YK56, an extremely underweight five-year-old.

"Even though the five-year-old Hawaiian monk seal is older than our typical patients from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, she is much smaller and thinner than the others in her cohort," said Michelle Barbieri, wildlife veterinary medical officer. "She has generally declined in condition over the past two seasons, and appeared to decline even more dramatically this season."

The monk seals underwent physical exams and blood work aboard the NOAA Research Vessel Oscar Elton Sette, and have begun a treatment regime, including oral electrolytes, fish-mash tube feedings and antibiotics. They were shuttled by small boat to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center's monk seal hospital in Kona as part of the final mission of a 24-day research cruise.

NOAA researchers transport Hawaiian monk seals in need of rehabilitation from the Oscar Elton Sette research vessel to a smaller boat that can bring them ashore to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS / NOAA permit 16632.

NOAA researchers transport Hawaiian monk seals in need of rehabilitation from the Oscar Elton Sette research vessel to a smaller boat that can bring them ashore to Ke Kai Ola, The Marine Mammal Center’s hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

Teams of researchers, who studied seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, or Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, which President Barack Obama recently quadrupled in size to nearly 583,000 square miles, were also picked up as part of the program's long-running Assessment and Recovery Camps. As remote as the atolls may be, their shores are full of marine debris, including broken-down pieces of plastic, fishing nets and ropes that the seals often get entangled in.

Since Ke Kai Ola opened two years ago, the hospital has provided another option in the islands for malnourished monk seals that would otherwise perish at Papahanaumokuakea. So far, the hospital has rehabilitated and returned 15 Hawaiian monk seals to the wild, including seven last year.

The Hawaiian monk seal, or neomonachus schauinslandi, is endemic to the Hawaiian islands, meaning found nowhere else, and typically hauls out on beaches to rest during the day. While most live in Papahanaumokuakea, a growing number of pups are being born in the main Hawaiian islands. Their population has been in decline for decades, with only an estimated 1,300 left in the wild.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho`ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho`ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS / NOAA permit 16632.

Hawaiian monk seal Niho‘ole, a prematurely weaned male pup, rests on a beach in Laysan. Niho‘ole is currently in guarded condition at The Marine Mammal Center’s Ke Kai Ola hospital in Kona. Credit NMFS/NOAA permit 16632.

Interested in learning more about Hawaii's wildlife? The IUCN Forum presents a Knowledge Cafe, entitled "Wet and Wild: Promoting Sustainable and Responsible Ecotourism Experiences with Marine Wildlife" from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 in Room 311-4 at Hawai‘i Convention Center. Meet with representatives from NOAA Fisheries for a discussion on how to balance sustainability with tourism when it comes to whales, dolphins, manta rays and Hawaiian monk seals. Wildlife managers, marine ecotourism operators, cultural practitioners, travel industry representatives, scientists and others welcome. A followup discussion will be held off site from 1 to 5 p.m. at the OHANA Waikiki East Hotel, lobby conference room, 150 Kaiulani Ave. RSVP to Adam Kurtz, adam.kurtz@noaa.gov by Sept. 6.

Related videos:

Hawaiian monk seal pup Niho‘ole playing with plastic debris at Laysan.

 

This public service announcement plays on Hawaiian Airlines' in-flight video:

IUCN Spotlight: Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III

By
August 22nd, 2016



Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

Dr. Sam ‘Ohu Gon III, courtesy The Nature Conservancy.

A Hawaiian chanter, senior scientist and cultural advisor for The Nature Conservancy, Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ohi‘a Gon III bridges the western and native Hawaiian worlds.

Gon, who has more than 40 years of experience in Hawaiian ecology, is hosting a workshop at the IUCN World Conservation Congress Forum on integrating indigenous cultural values and perspectives into conservation on Sept. 3. He will be at the opening of the #NatureForAll pavilion and moderate a presentation on bright spots in conservation across the isles.

Gon helped craft motion 83, with students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Environmental Law Program, which affirms the role of indigenous cultures in global conservation efforts.

"If you were going to think about any place where conservation issues are a high priority, and conservation challenges felt very strongly, it would be Hawaii," said Gon. "We have more endangered species than any other state in the U.S. We've got finite island ecosystems."

"The lessons of these islands to earth is the same as a canoe to an island. When you're on a voyaging canoe thousands of miles to an island, your entire world is on the canoe. You need to rely on the people in that canoe and the resources you have to survive. Decisions are never made lightly. You're always thinking about supplies, the direction  and your goals."

"We know we have limited land area, so you can't behave as if you have an infinite supply of resources...so that same lesson applies to larger islands such as continents, and of course, to the largest island we have, which is the planet."

The practitioner of Hawaiian chant and protocol graduated from revered kumu John Keolamaka‘ainana Lake as well as with a PhD in animal behavior from the University of California at Davis, and is as comfortable talking natural science as he is Hawaiian. He lectures about the Natural History of Hawaiian Islands at the University of Hawaii at Manoa In addition, he knows Hawaii's mountains and forests intimately.

Danny Donlin, left, and Dr. Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III from Na Hanona o Ka Halau Hula Pa Ola Kapu (under the direction of kumu hula John Keolamaka'ainana Lake) at the 27th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens. File photo by Dennis Oda 2014.

Danny Donlin, left, and Dr. Samuel ‘Ohu Gon III from Na Hanona o Ka Halau Hula Pa Ola Kapu (under the direction of kumu hula John Keolamaka'ainana Lake) at the 27th Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival at Moanalua Gardens. File photo by Dennis Oda 2014.

Whether in the Pacific islands or forests of the Amazon, indigenous peoples who have a relationship with the places where they live offer valuable insights into the management of natural resources.

"The time is emerging when all people need to start looking at their places, lands and water, and sustain them with a bit more respect," said Gon. "It becomes clearer to us that human impacts are being seen from pole to pole and there's no place on Earth that hasn't seen the impact of humanity...It's no longer, let nature take its course because we have modified the course nature has run."

Still, people need to be part of the solution because people are part of the natural system.

"The great revelations of this century are going to be the awareness of the global implications of our actions. We need to take action as individual countries and as a global country to minimize those things we understand are not in the best interest of the world's ecosystems or ourselves."

In addition to serving on the IUCN's commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, Gon also was a member of the Hawaii Rare Plant Specialist Group that worked to add more than 700 more native species to the IUCN Red List. There are so many Hawaiian plants and animals that are in need of attention, but one that Gon would love to see added to the red list is the Hawaiian Happy Face Spider.

In mid-August, Gon joined the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Snail Extinction Prevention Program in reintroducing captive-reared, nearly extinct Hawaiian tree snails (Achatinella Lila, or pūpū kuahiwi) back to the summit of the Ko‘olau mountains on Oahu. In 1997, the last six individuals for the snail population were brought to a lab for captive rearing.

Related video (TEDx Maui Talk: Lessons from a Thousand Years):

IUCN Spotlight: Chris Farmer

By
August 15th, 2016



Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director, American Bird Conservancy at Nihoa island. Courtesy Chris Farmer.

Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director, American Bird Conservancy at Nihoa island. Courtesy Chris Farmer.

Gone is the Kauai O‘o bird, which was endemic to the island of Kauai. Its songs can no longer be heard in tree branches, with all that remains being a recording at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Its last song was heard in 1985.

Before that, we lost the Oahu ‘akepa (1893), the Laysan honeycreeper (1923) and Lanai creeper (1937). Today, many native Hawaiian birds continue to live on the brink of becoming extinct due to invasive species, loss of habitat and mosquito-borne diseases.

Chris Farmer, Hawaii Program Director of the American Bird Conservancy, said roughly a third of all endangered birds in the world are native Hawaiian. Being on isolated islands, conservation work here is more challenging due to the small, geographic location and lack of funding.

"Hawaii's native birds are one of the biggest conservation needs in the world," said Farmer. "I do feel we're at a crossroads. A lot of these birds are in serious shape. We know it needs to get done. If we take action now, we can save these precious and endangered species found nowhere else in the world."

Hawaii is the bird extinction capital of the world, according to the conservancy.

A Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi, is at risk of extinction. Photo by robbey Kohley/American Bird Conservancy.

A Hawaiian honeycreeper, or ‘i‘iwi, is at risk of extinction. Photo by Robbey Kohley/American Bird Conservancy.

Native birds such as the ‘akikiki, ‘i‘iwi and Maui parrotbill are at risk of declining quickly. The ‘i‘iwi, or Hawaiian honeycreeper, was once one of the most common native forest birds in the Hawaiian archipelago but is in decline due to avian malaria. Climate change is another threat.

Yet Farmer, who has been dedicated to saving Hawaiian birds since 2004, remains optimistic.

The translocation of endangered millerbirds to Hawaii's Laysan island is a success story. In 2013, the population of the millerbirds there had doubled to more than 100 after 50 were translocated from Nihoa in previous years. Last year, 10 endangered Hawaiian petrel chicks were flown by helicopter to Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, where they are protected by a predator-proof fence, on Kauai.

In April, biologists released more than a dozen puaiohi (small Kauai thrush) from captive breeding programs at a wilderness preserve on the Garden Isle. Hawaiian crows, or alala, are also being bred in captivity and doing well, with a dozen to be released in September.

"The problems are serious, but the hope is there," he said. "If we act now we can save these species."

Farmer and George Wallace (vice president of oceans and islands) from the American Bird Conservancy will be at the following World Conservation Congress events:

> ABC Pavilion Talks: Saving Hawaiian Birds. Concrete Actions to Prevent Further Extinctions.

> ABC Pavilion Talks: Overcoming Conflicts to Save Hawaii's Native Birds

> Revive & Restore Workshop, Genetic Rescue: Can new genomic tools solve conservation problems such as exotic wildlife diseases and destructive invasive species?

> Revive & Restore Pavilion, Stamping Out Alien Mosquitoes in Hawaii: Can new technology stop avian malaria from driving Hawaii's native birds to extinction?

> ABC Poster: Hawaii's Native Birds at the Crossroads

> ABC Poster: Palila: Conservation of an endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper - past, present and future challenges

The Palila, a critically endangered native Hawaiian bird on the IUCN Red List. Photo by Robby Kohley/ABC Birds.

The Palila, an endangered native Hawaiian bird. Photo by Robby Kohley/ABC Birds.

A Green Congress

By
August 11th, 2016



The IUCN World Conservation Congress is expected to bring between 6,000 to 8,000 leaders from around the globe to the Hawai‘i Convention Center in September. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. NOV. 28, 2015.

The IUCN World Conservation Congress is expected to bring between 6,000 to 8,000 leaders from around the globe to the Hawai‘i Convention Center in September. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. NOV. 28, 2015.

Let's face it – traveling itself, via jet planes, staying at hotel accommodations and consuming food and drink on the go are not exactly the best way to reduce carbon emissions in the world. After all, travelers leave a carbon footprint just by jetting to Honolulu from the other side of the world.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, nevertheless, is making every effort it can to green its upcoming World Conservation Congress in Waikiki Sept. 1 to 10. The IUCN and Hawaii Host Committee are attempting to host a zero-waste event for the largest gathering of conservationists from around the world.

Here are some of the guidelines issued in the "My Green IUCN Congress Guidebook":

> Offset carbon emissions. First of all, participants can offset their carbon emissions from air travel by contributing to the IUCN Congress Carbon Mitigation Fund when registering for the Congress. Proceeds will be go to the Cordillera Azul National Park Project in Peru.

> Use alternative transportation. Upon landing, participants are encouraged to stay at hotels adopting green business practices nearby and to take TheBus, walk, bike, carpool or request a hybrid or electric car from rental agencies.

> Go plastic-free. No plastic water bottles or plastic bags, cups, straws or packaging are to be distributed or sold at the center. Water stations will be available around the convention center for free refills. Only drinks in aluminum cans and glass bottles will be available for purchase.

> Go digital. There will be no printed program. Instead, the Congress encourages registered participants to use the official IUCN Congress mobile app (free) to reduce paper waste. Participants are encouraged to go digital, as well, for documents.

> Eat local and compostable. As much locally sourced food as possible will be sourced for the menu, which of course, can not feature any threatened species. All kitchen scraps and food waste will be collected, along with the compostable plastic tableware, to be converted into compost at local farms.

On a side note, the guidelines also request that only endemic, non-endangered, potted plants be used for decoration and only environmentally-friendly cleaning products be used on the facility.

It seems as if the Hawai‘i Convention Center, placed up on a world conservation stage, is taking pioneering, large-scale measures to make this congress as sustainable as possible. Perhaps these are measures that will set the standard for future events going forward.

Front view, Hawai‘i Convention Center in Waikiki. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA This is the Hawaii Convention Center located at the corner of Kapiolani and Atkinson Drive. It’s having its best year yet, but is still losing money. This is the Gift of Water Statue in front that faces Atkinson Dr. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. NOV. 28, 2015.

The Hawai‘i Convention Center in Waikiki will adopt sustainable practices when it hosts the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA

Posted in Green health, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress | Comments Off on A Green Congress

The IUCN Red List

By
August 9th, 2016



The Oahu Elepaio is on the list (status: endangered), as is the Hawaiian monk seal (status: endangered), the Kauai bog damselfly (status: near threatened), silversword (status: vulnerable) and Cyanea kuhihewa (status: critically endangered).

The IUCN Red List, sometimes referred to as a barometer of life, has since 1964 been cataloging the conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species around the globe with details such as current status, distribution, threats and habitats essential for survival. Considered a critical indicator of the health of the world's biodiversity, it's used by government agencies, wildlife departments and organizations worldwide to set conservation and funding priorities.

Hawaii, the "extinction capital of the world," has a significant number of flora and fauna on the list and is poised to have more.

In an unprecedented collaboration, botanists in Hawaii are targeting over half of Hawaii's native plants — 780 of 1,375 natives species — for the IUCN Red List.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden spearheaded these efforts last August, when it hosted a workshop for the Hawaiian Plant Specialists Group, which is part of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The group assessed the plant species by island, focusing first on 'single island endemics,' or species that occur on just one island.

The Geranium arboreum, endemic to Maui, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The Geranium arboreum, endemic to Maui, is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Photo courtesy NTBG.

Approximately 90 percent of native flowering plant species are endemic to the islands, meaning found nowhere else, naturally. Kauai has the highest number of endemic species due its geologic age, its many steep, isolated valleys and greater distance from other islands. Before the workshop, 91 Kauai species were listed. An additional 47 have been listed, with more pending.

By the time the congress takes place in September, Oahu is expected to increase its number of red-listed plant species to 147; Maui 117; Lanai 50, Molokai 66 and Hawaii island 79.

Currently, there are more than 79,800 species on the IUCN Red List. The IUCN's goal is to assess at least 160,000 species by 2020.

A quick look at the IUCN Red List:

> There are currently more than 79,800 species on the IUCN Red List. More than 23,000 are threatened with extinction, including 41 percent of amphibians, 34 percent of conifers, 33 percent of reef building corals, 25 percent of mammals and 13 percent of birds.

> Both threatened and non-threatened species are included on the list. However, a species that is not listed may still be threatened.

> Categories range from least concern to vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild and extinct.

The  World Conservation Congress, held only once every four years, is expected to bring between 6,000 to 8,000 world leaders from over 170 countries to the Hawai‘i Convention Center from Sept. 1 to 10. It is being held for the first time in the U.S.

Related video:

Posted in Conservation, Endangered species, Green events, IUCN, IUCN World Conservation Congress | Comments Off on The IUCN Red List

Reinventing the wheel

By
July 12th, 2016



The Ala Wai Canal in Waikiki has for years been the collection point for plastic debris and litter, which in turn flows into the ocean, not to mention the site of the worst massive sewage discharge of 48-million gallons of untreated wastewater in 2006.

Now, three non-profit groups — Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, 808 Cleanups and the Surfrider Foundation — are hoping to bring the Trash Water Wheel to Honolulu's Ala Wai Canal. The solar-powered wheel, which a Baltimore, Md. non-profit brought to its Inner Harbor two years ago, has reportedly removed more than 350 tons of litter there.

Baltimore water wheel powered by solar panels and currents. Courtesy Sierraclub.org.

Baltimore water wheel powered by solar panels and currents. Courtesy Sierraclub.org.

It kind of looks like a covered wagon with a spinning wheel and array of solar panels on top. The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore says it is capable of picking up 50,000 pounds of trash per day using a combination of old and new technology. Two booms direct trash and debris toward the front of the water wheel, which moves it up a conveyer belt (powered by the water wheel and solar panels) and into a dumpster.

Hawaii's three non-profits recently launched an indiegogo campaign seeking to raise $6,500 to conduct a feasibility study (plus offer donors various perks). The goal has been surpassed in less than 10 days.

Kahi Pacarro, director of Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, says he has met with state and city officials, who agreed the project should be a priority for Oahu but requires a feasibility study first. All funds beyond the goal will go towards the actual water wheel. If the feasibility study ends up determining that the water wheel is not feasible for Honolulu, the funds will be split between the three non-profits for perpetuating their missions of cleaning Hawaii's coastlines.

The indiegogo campaign runs until Aug. 19.

Posted in Conservation, marine debris, Ocean, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reinventing the wheel

Free energy kits

By
July 6th, 2016



connector

The Blue Planet Foundation, in partnership with Bidgely, an Energy Excelerator portfolio company and Hawaiian Electric, is offering free home energy monitoring kits to 750 homes across Oahu.

The software kit allows participants to measure how much energy their homes and specific appliances – like the refrigerator or water heater – are using at a given time via an app.

It will also include tips and fun energy challenges that participants complete for the chance to win prizes.

The pilot program's goal is to equip households and businesses with the tools they need to take control of their energy choices, and shift power consumption patterns to better match renewable energy supply as well as reduce peak energy demand.

"We're making the invisible, visible," said David Aquino, Blue Planet's director of innovation. "Many residents get a $200 energy bill at the end of the month and have no idea how, when, or where that energy was used."

Blue Planet will schedule and provide free installation of the energy kits which will involve hooking up a device to the circuit breaker box (should take no more than 30 minutes). The Bidgely HomeBeat app will display in-home energy consumption and the breakdown of energy use by each appliance, via a smartphone or online, with real-time alerts.

Bidgely has launched similar programs in other parts of the U.S., including in 2014 with Pacific Gas & Electric in northern California, which found that monitoring appliances yielded up to 7.7 percent in energy savings among about 850 participants.

Results from the Oahu pilot program should be released at the end of the year.

Visit blueplanetfoundation.org/powerchallenge to schedule an installation.

Posted in Blue Planet Foundation, Energy | Comments Off on Free energy kits

808 Cleanups Volunteers

By
July 1st, 2016



MarcusGriego

You've got to hand it to them.

Volunteers for 808 Cleanups are out there, spending their time, efforts and energy on cleaning up on any given day of the week — from Nanakuli to Hawaii Kai. From the depths of the ocean to the summit of Koko Crater . For them, Earth Day really is every day and instead of complaining, they're actually TAKING ACTION.

Recently, 808 Cleanups co-founder Michael D. Loftin has been posting what motivates these volunteers to do what they do. Maybe they will inspire you.

"It's my pleasure to share what you've told me in your own words," he wrote on Facebook. "Why you are a member of 808 Cleanups. It is my honor and privilege to know you and work with you on cleanups."

Below are just a few of the volunteers out of hundreds, from all walks of life, who share what motivates them. Find these posts at fb.com/808cleanups. Inspired? Here are 10 ways to get started.

NalaniU‘i Tector, Nanakuli

13510968_10154137361910168_5901803870266010186_n-1

Uncle George, Pokai Bay

13516506_10154130082165168_3500347944331059745_n

Jay Lee, Honolulu (Old Stadium Park)

JayLee

Joanna Fletchall, Kailua Beach Park

13466308_10154120140825168_2795818946640906549_n

Mary Eileen, Waimanalo

MaryEileen

Brian Connors, Koko Crater

BrianConnors

Posted in beach cleanup, Green non-profits, Lifestyle, marine debris, Volunteer | Comments Off on 808 Cleanups Volunteers

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.

20160609_Environmental Fair_108

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.

13418610_1229106257129389_6693168411500252407_o

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

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives