By Joan Conrow on 10 April 2012 for Kauai Eclectic -
Image above: A loggerhead sea turtle hooked and killed on a longline boat fishing for swordfish, credit Mar Mas/Oceana. From (http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1723/p/dia/action/public/index).
We, of course, have the choice to stay out the ocean when our land-based activities — pooping, peeing, grubbing, grading, spraying, poisoning — make it too funky to safely swim. But what of the animals who live there and have nowhere to run to, baby, nowhere to hide? Well, if I were to ask the spear fisherman — local guy, young, upper body covered with tattoos — who I recently saw scaling a hefty stringer of fish right next to a freshly emptied gallon jug of bleach that had been shoved into the naupaka after its contents were poured onto the reef, the answer would be fuck 'em.
The state Legislature is being asked to make a similar statement with HCR 87 and HR 61, resolutions that support “delisting” the green sea turtle as a threatened and protected species so it can be “actively managed” — or in other words, hunted outright or wantonly killed as a byproduct of longline fishing. That's why you've got Kitty Simonds, executive director of Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (WESPAC) orchestrating it, even though testimony was submitted that disingenuously lists her affiliation as president of the Maunalua Hawaiian Civic Club. Regardless of what you may think about how many turtles are out there, or whether people should hunt them, things start to move into the realm of Orwellian when you read language like this in the resolution:
the environment and ecosystem are suffering from the current over-protection, over-population, and lack of management of honuWow. So now we're blaming the turtles, a native species that has been around for 110 million years, compared to a measly 100,000 for Homo sapiens, for screwing up the reefs. Unreal, And I suppose we can also blame them for giving themselves tumors (fibropapillomatosis). That way we don't have to change our behavior, like halting the practice of injecting semi-treated sewage effluent into wells that then leach into the nearshore marine environment and produce toxic algae that the turtles consume, to their peril.
I asked a friend what he thought about delisting the honu, and he said Hawaiians should be allowed to hunt them. I support traditional hunting and harvesting practices, too, but surely we can do better for kanaka than give them the green light to consume a diseased species. Anyway, this issue is scheduled for a House hearing on Thursday morning before a committee that counts our own Rep. Derek Kawakami as a member.
Wonder how he'll vote?
Derek, along with our other state House Reps., Jimmy Tokioka and Dee Morikawa, and Sen. Ron Kouchi, already voted for SB 755, one of those disturbing “fast-track construction” measures that are coming to characterize the rein of Gov. Abercrombie. The bill exempts airport structures from the special management area permit and shoreline setback variance requirements and gives the Department of Land and Natural Resources, as well as the Department of Transportation, authority to similarly exempt other projects from such review.
It also exempts all work involving submerged lands used for state commercial harbor purposes from any permit and site plan review requirements for lands in the conservation district and authorizes the Governor to exempt classes of projects from the environmental review process. Not stated is the way it works to conveniently exempt the public, especially those nay-saying environmentalists, from any meaningful say about projects in the Islands most sensitive lands. You can ask our elected reps about it on Wednesday night.
They'll be at the Wilcox School cafeteria from 5:30 to 7 p.m. “hearing [which is very different than heeding] your feedback on issues important to the Garden Island.” But when you read language like this — “Mid-session highlights will be provided with an emphasis on economic revitalization and business and the State Budget.” — you can be pretty sure of the underlying message: Fuck the environment, full speed ahead. Or as a friend noted in comments yesterday, responding to a report of Swiss villagers rejecting a gold mine in favor of environmental protection:
So why is it that we on Kauai always fall for the gold mine; our island is as beautiful as their Alpine setting..