Kokua Sought in Reporting of Monk Seal Entanglements
By Wendy Osher
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and NOAA Fisheries are asking the public’s help in reporting Hawaiian monkk seal deaths and injuries.
Since March 2012, the agencies and partners have responded to a total of five seal hooking incidents involving four individual Hawaiian monk seals.
Agency officials say monk seal deaths and injuries from fishing interactions can often be prevented, and adverse impacts to fishermen and seals can be reduced through early reporting of incidents.
“Monk seals are a vital part of Hawaii’s marine and cultural environment,” said DLNR Chair, William Aila, Jr., in a statement. “While DLNR and NOAA seek to address all adverse impacts on Hawaiian monk seals, we want to acknowledge the cooperation of Hawai‘i fishermen and emphasize that we do not consider fishing interactions in the main Hawaiian Islands to currently pose a major threat to monk seal recovery.”
According to NOAA Fisheries data, a total of 77 hooking incidents have been reported over the past 10 years, with at total of nine incidents in 2011 and eight incidents reported so far in 2012.
The guidelines for fishermen in dealing with hookings are available at the following link: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/Library/PRD/Hawaiian%20monk%20seal/HMS-fishing_guidelines-FINAL-PUBLIC.pdf
The reporting hotline for all fishing interactions and other marine mammal incidents is: 1-888-256-9840.
***Supporting information courtesy DLNR & NOAA.