Robert Winter of Snorkel Bob Foundation reports: Consensus was overwhelming; conservation efforts in Hawaii have been stifled in the name of commerce for too long. The Ocean Policy Task Force may render a sea change in priorities & approach. We shall see. At any rate, NOAA got the message with a panel representing depth in science & political will. The HPR commentator noted aquarium extraction as a common complaint throughout the session. By raising many voices, we got the point across.
Irene Bowie for Maui Tomorrow challenged the wisdom of re-opening the Hawaii swordfish longline fishery, that would allow triple allowable "take" of loggerhead & leatherback turtles, which includes any form of interaction, with the expectation that up to 3 adult females and up to about 7 other loggerheads would be killed annually. The longline issue was spearheaded at the San Francisco task force venue, though it's a Hawaii "fishery," so Irene's testimony stood out.
Here is the Hawaii Public Radio coverage of Tuesday's Ocean Policy Task Force testimony on Tuesday, September 29.
From Stuart Coleman, Surfrider Foundation MZ
We just had the National Ocean Policy Task Force hearing in Honolulu on Tue., 9/29, and we had more than 400 people show up and more than 60 gave testimony! In order to raise awareness about the event, I wrote an interview with David Helvarg of the Blue Frontier in the Honolulu Weekly, and we were both guests, along with Kahea's Marti Townsend, on HPR's Town Square radio show (see links below).
We worked with many other environmental groups to build up attendance, and Surfrider was well represented by Marvin Heskett, who was asked to join the local panel and offer his insightful comments at the beginning of the meeting. Although more than 30 people were cut off at the end of the hearing and not allowed to testify because the panel ran way over time, the task force hearing was generally considered a success and a ringing endorsement of the need for an integrated and ecosystem-based National Ocean Policy. For those who were unable to attend or give testimony, you can submit written testimony at this website: www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/ <http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/initiatives/oceans/>
Many thanks to all of you for helping to promote the hearing and let's hope our momentum continues with the next ones in New Orleans and the Great Lakes!
PS Here are the links to the Honolulu Weekly article
HPR's Town Square radio show.