Maui News

Help Sought to Find Hooked Monk Seal off Maui

May 16, 2013, 4:52 PM HST
* Updated May 16, 4:55 PM
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Photo of hooked seal, RL06, taken on Saturday May 11 at Olowalu dive site by Harold Giger. Courtesy photo, permission to use image NOAA permit # 932-1905

Photo of hooked seal, RL06, taken on Saturday May 11 at Olowalu dive site by Harold Giger. Courtesy photo, permission to use image NOAA permit # 932-1905

By Maui Now Staff

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking the help of the public on Maui in locating an endangered monk seal that authorities say was accidentally hooked over the weekend.

State officials said a local fisherman reported the incident after hooking what he initially believed to be “a very large ulua” while fishing from shore in the early morning hours on Saturday, May 11.

Authorities said the fisherman realized he had unintentionally hooked a Hawaiian monk seal when the catch got closer, and its head popped out of the water.

State officials say the line reportedly broke, and the monk seal fled before the fisherman could call authorities to remove the hook.

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“I would like to commend this fisherman for calling in the incident. This is exactly the type of cooperation we need from the community. I applaud his leadership,” said William Aila, Jr., DLNR chair in a department issued press release.

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DLNR officials say failure to report monk seal hookings or distressed seals in past months have proven devastating for the endangered animals in other unrelated cases.

According to information released today by the state DLNR, the seal is believed to be hooked with a 2.5-inch barbed circle hook, and could be dragging up to 5-feet of wire and some fishing line.

The seal, identified as RL06, was born at Kalaupapa, Molokaʻi last July, and is known to frequent the Olowalu area of Maui, according to DLNR officials.

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DLNR officials hope that the community can help in locating the seal by providing quick reports of a current location so that a response team can assess the animal’s condition.

Anyone spotting this seal is asked to immediately contact Nicole Davis from the National Marine Fisheries Stranding Program at (808) 292-2372 or call the Monk Seal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840.

***Supporting information courtesy state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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