The Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT), an advocacy organization for some 3,000 small boat commercial fishermen who catch much of the fish sold locally, believes there's evidence to show the humpback whale is sufficiently recovered to warrant its removal from the endangered species list.
The group has filed a petition to identify the North Pacific population of humpback whales a distinct population segment that should be delisted. A similar strategy is being employed to delist the green sea turtle, though HFACT President Phil Fernandez said the whale petition is not connected to the honu petition and the group is independent of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Wespac).
In explaining the group's rationale, Fernandez wrote:
International rules banning the take of large whales have been in place for almost 50 years, we support these rules. Additionally, the Marine Mammal Protection Act will continue to protect whales. HFACT simply feels that the application of the ESA , which Congress identified as the "protection of last resort" is not longer necessary.
The petition is also an attempt to sideline current efforts to expand the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. A draft management plan is due out in early 2014. Fishers have consistently complained that the NOAA Sanctuary Division is not listening to them or considering their concerns, so they created HFACT and submitted the petition.
In publishing a 90-day finding, the National Marine Fisheries Service noted:
We find that the petition viewed in the context of information readily available in our files presents substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.
To determine whether it is warranted, the agency is “soliciting scientific and commercial information pertaining to this population from any interested party.” Comments are due by Oct. 28. You can view this document for more details on the petition and how to submit comments.
A petition of another sort seeks to prevent President Obama from issuing an executive order to accomplish what the Akaka Bill, OHA and the Kanaiolowalu (Hawaiian roll call) have all failed to do— give kanaka maoli federal recognition. The petition reads:
The Kana’iolowalu Roll Commission thwarts the legal context and spirit of self-determination. We are not tribal, nor of tribes. Attempting to transform our Hawaiian identity is an unconstitutional, race-based action; a clear breach and violation of our perfect right denying our due process under law.
We, the Kanaka Maoli, have been misrepresented through materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements implemented through the use of false writings/documents. We oppose federal recognition of our people and reject Kana’iolowalu.
We ask that you respect the U.S. Constitution and comply with international laws, Laws of Nations and the U.N. Declaration you signed in 2010 based on the right to self-determination and self-governance.
You can sign if you agree with that sentiment, even if you aren't kanaka maoli.
I see the county is looking to transform Kawaihau Road to make it more “pedestrian friendly.” Why? Of all the roads in Kapahi-Wailua, it's already the friendliest because it has that little path that runs almost its entire length, as well as crosswalks by the schools and the still-closed spur to the coastal Path. But since the money is tied to schools, attention will be focused on Kawaiahau Road, rather than where it's actually needed, like the pedestrian death traps of Kaapuni Road in Kapahi and Hoolako Street in Lihue.
Speaking of pedestrian routes, Councilmembers Nadine Nakamura and Mel Rapozo are seeking more info at Wednesday's meeting about a public easement that Falko Properties plans to dedicate as part of its super luxe Kahuaina Plantation, which will turn more prime ag land into upscale gentleman's estates between Moloaa and Kilauea. I do not understand why people who claim to care about the future of agriculture on Kauai, as evidenced by their interest in pesticide-GMO Bill 2491, don't seem bothered a bit by gentrification.
At any rate, Mel wants to know how the easement will impact the location and establishment of the alaloa, a traditional coastal trail, while Nadine wants to know more about the subdivision's approval process and the easement, “including the parking area’s distance to the shoreline, the number of parking stalls and responsibility for the maintenance of the approximately one mile long public access.”
Mahalo Mel and Nadine for being concerned about public access.