Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Musings: Something's Fishy

The moon, full today, burned brightly through a blanket of swirling clouds all night, emerging occasionally, encircled in a halo, dimming only slightly when the rain came that left the streets wet when Koko and I went walking this morning.

The sun, weak by comparison, rose as a yellow streak in a gray sky that briefly turned a demure orange-pink in the east as we walked through a neighborhood saturated by rain. And though we attempted to skirt puddles and mud slicks, Koko’s belly was wet and dirty when we got home, while my own was clean, but hungry.

It seems the residents of Niihau are also hungry, according to an email that was sent out last night, prompting plans to collect basic foodstuffs at the state capitol for shipping to the island on Friday.

The email reported:

apperently the barge has been unabl;e to reach them because of the weather, and the [Robinson family] helicopter is broken, and they wont eat the fish because they think its posoned.

I was intrigued by this call out, because I had just written a piece for The Hawaii Independent on the fears that Niihau folks have about their fish following mid-January’s still unexplained mass fish kill.

The article delves into a possible link to Navy activities, which reportedly were staged in the area Jan. 15 to 18. And that’s when all sorts of strange things started happening in the waters around Kauai and Niihau.

In The Hawaii Independent article, I noted that Bruce Robinson first noticed fish washing ashore on Niihau on Jan. 17, and a dead humpback whale calf on Jan 21. As you may recall, a mass kill of lanternfish, a small deep water species, and squid washed ashore at Kauai’s Kalapaki Bay on Jan. 20.

As I reported in a previous post, there was some initial concern that perhaps the fish deaths were linked to the Jan. 6 and 13 aerial applications of rodenticide on Lehua, a small island near Niihau. But fish tissue samples taken after the application showed no sign of poison and there was “no detectable movement” of the rodenticide pellets on land, according to Chris Swenson of the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Don Heacock, the state aquatic biologist for Kauai, said he doesn’t think the rodenticide had anything to do with the fish kills, either. He isn’t sure what caused the fish and whales to die — another calf washed in at Kekaha on Feb. 9 — saying, “I don’t know, and I don’t want to put clothes on the emperor.”

But he did recommend that his top boss, BLNR Chairman Laura Thielen, ask the Navy just what it was doing at that time “so we can get a better idea of what’s going on here.”

Of course, if the answer is anything like the one I got from PMRF’s Tom Clements, which you can read in the Independent article, it won’t reveal much — except that the Navy operates with tremendous secrecy, and impunity, in Hawaii’s waters.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

a list of other items that have caused and/or been linked to fish kills etc would be nice to see, if anybody has handy, ty

Dawson said...

> Of course, if the answer is anything like the one I got from PMRF’s Tom Clements, which you can read in the Independent article, it won’t reveal much — except that the Navy operates with tremendous secrecy, and impunity, in Hawaii’s waters. <

...And that they cloak themselves in an arrogance that matches their secrecy. Given these times, the latter may be understandable but the former is inexcusable.

Clement's emails seem cribbed from a corporate PR manual, "101 Things to Not Say in Emails."

Fish are dying, people are going hungry, a major PR flap is forming, and Clement thinks what will make the Navy look like a Good Neighbor is to remind the public that "Most human activities on and in the water can potentially introduce chemicals into the ocean, from sunscreen to diesel fuel emissions."

Who said the tone-deaf left the government when Dick Cheney's tour of duty ended?

Clue to Clement: when your client has dug themselves into a hole, the first rule of PR is to stop digging.

Joan said...

Re: causes of fish kills. In his 28 years as DAR biologist on Kauai, Heacock said he'd only seen one big fish kill, and that was of triggerfish 15 years ago. It turned out to be from natural causes, due to a temporary overpopulation of the species and subsequent lack of food. "That doesn't appear to be the case in these," he said, referring to the January fish kills.

Anonymous said...

Is the navy working on the low frequency sonar stuff? That's been known to kill deep water fish. It ruptures ear drums of whales and can stun/kill other fish.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the answers. i had looked into it earlier, but lost interest frankly. w/ all the info (what died, where, autopsy etc) one would imagine a pretty accurate explanation range can be achieved. to rule in or out the sonar thing, it would be nice to see if some CA people would take a look at this (for some reason i recall some CA people having more / better experience with sonar and fish kills...thats where a fed lawsuit was on the sonar?)

Anonymous said...

This is about as outrageous as it gets.

Even the secluded island of Niihau is not exempt from the U.S. poison tentacles.

This should be front page stories and the finger is pointed at PMRF. Which by the way should have returned that beach by now as the war was a lie and there are no bomb packing surfers.

The poison fish scenario has been known by locals on the west side for years; the Navy has already done the un Godly damage and my family knows not to eat that fish.

Itʻs fʻng hilarious if not murderous: they need their training areas to protect us!!!!!
Is anyone tired enough of this bullshit to get mad?

Thank you to idiot little men like Abercrombie and Inouye. Little nothings.

Need to protest at OUR gate. The dirty squatters got to go.

Anonymous said...

Perchlorate from PMRF? Now in breast milk in 28 states.

Anonymous said...

"Perchlorate from PMRF? Now in breast milk in 28 states."

I think this is a good call.

http://injury.findlaw.com/perchlorate/perchlorate-faq.html

Excerpts:

Q: What are perchlorates used for?
A: Perchlorates are very reactive chemicals that are used mainly in explosives, fireworks, and rocket motors.

Q: How do perchlorates enter the environment?
A: Perchlorates can enter the environment in and around sites where rockets are made, tested, and taken apart.

Anonymous said...

k so poison? i thought sonar was viewed as a possible culprit

(or are you just upset in general?)

Anonymous said...

It could be poison or sonar. Either way, it doesn't look good for the navy.

Anonymous said...

im no animal dr, but one would think that autopsys would rule in out what one might presume is a quick death via sonar, vs a slower death via toxic poisoning. and if it is toxic, it would seem the smart money is on base or agriculture activity. if it is the base, i hope it does not end up being a "sorry we cant tell you what chemical compositions are and/or have been used in area 51" sort of thing

(oh and if ur gonna do the perchlorate 101 thing, expand past only noting its used and/or found in rockets pls...otherwise you just come across as a easily dismissed weird person w/ a pre-standing political agenda. just fyi)

March 10, 2009 9:19 AM
March 10, 2009 11:47 AM
March 11, 2009 8:47 AM