By Wendy Osher
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association hosts a meeting tonight on Maui to discuss effects of the agency’s plans to recover the Hawaiian Monk Seal population.
Proposed actions include the capture, veterinary treatment, transportation, and release of monk seals on shorelines throughout the Hawaiian archipelago.
A similar meeting was held in the East Maui community of Hāna last night that drew criticism from opponents who worry about the safety of swimmers, the competition that the seals would pose for fishermen, and the impact of the seals on cultural activities.
Tonight’s meeting, set to run from 6 to 8 p.m. at Lāhaināluna High School, is open to the public.
Officials from the NOAA Fisheries office are seeking information on potential adverse effects the action could have on historic properties, including traditional cultural properties, as well as information on potential impacts to cultural resources and practices such as fish ponds and fish pond operation.
Input from the meetings will be incorporated into a revised Cultural Impact Assessment for the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. NOAA officials say input will also form an important component of the agency’s compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act Section 106.
Meetings on the topic began on Molokai in October. Additional meetings are planned at the following times and locations:
- Lāhainā, November 15, 2012, 6-8 p.m. at Lāhaināluna High School
- Hilo Hawai’i, November 27, 2012, 6-8 p.m., at Hilo High School
- Kona Hawai’i, November 28, 2012, 6-8 p.m., Kealakehe Elementary School
- Wai’anae O’ahu, December 11, 2012, 6-8 p.m., Wai’anae High School
- Waialua O’ahu, December 12, 2012, 6-8 p.m., Waialua High and Intermediate School
- Waimānalo Oahu, December 13, 2012, 6-8 p.m., Waimānalo Elementary and Intermediate School