Media Advisory, July 14, 2011
Miyoko Sakashita, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 658-5308, firstname.lastname@example.org
Marti Townsend, KAHEA, (808) 372-1314, email@example.com
Public Hearings Set on Monk Seal Habitat Protections
HONOLULU— The federal government today announced public hearings in Hawaii about its proposal to designate more than 11,000 square miles of coastal and marine critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals. The proposed rule will protect beaches and coastal waters on all the main Hawaiian Islands and expand protected habitat in the Northwestern Islands. The proposal responds to a 2008 petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, and Ocean Conservancy.
“New habitat protections could be a lifeline for endangered monk seals, protecting Hawaii’s clean beaches and coastal waters,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center.
Studies have shown that endangered wildlife with habitat protections are twice as likely to be recovering as those without. The proposed rule expands the current critical habitat area for the Hawaiian monk seal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to include deeper waters. It also designates new areas on all of the main Hawaiian Islands: Ni'ihau, Kaua'i, O'ahu, Moloka'i, Lāna'i, Kaho'olawe, Maui and Hawaii. Areas protected would include coastal land up to five meters inland and waters out to 500 meters in depth, with certain exclusions.
“The hearings are an opportunity to speak up in favor of protecting our beaches and reefs not only for monk seals, but also for Hawaii’s paddlers, fishers, surfers and all people of these islands,” said Marti Townsend of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance.
The hearings are as follows:
Monday, August 8 (5:30pm-8:00pm)
Mitchell Pauole Center
90 Ainoa Street
Kaunakakai, Molokai, HI 96748
Tuesday, August 9 (5:30pm-8:00pm)
Kihei Community Center
303 E. Lipoa St.
Kihei, Maui, HI 96753
Wednesday, August 10 (5:00pm-9pm)
Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall
4191 Hardy St., Exhibit Hall B
Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766
Thursday, August 11 (5:30pm-8:00pm)
McCoy Pavilion at Ala Moana Park
1201 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI 96814
Monday, August 15 (5:30pm-8:00pm)
Mokupapapa Discovery Center
308 Kamehameha Ave., 109
Hilo, HI 96720
Tuesday, August 16 (6:30pm-9:00pm)
Kahakai Elementary School 76-147 Royal Poinciana Drive
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
The National Marine Fisheries Service is also accepting written public comments on the proposal until Aug. 31, 2011 (www.regulations.gov #0648-BA81).
For more information see Save Our Hawaiian Monk Seal (http://on.fb.me/mwHgmT).
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 320,000 members and online activists dedicated to protecting endangered species and wild places. www.biologicaldiversity.org
KAHEA is a community-based organization working to improve the quality of life for Hawai’i’s people and future generations through the revitalization and protection of Hawai’i’s unique natural and cultural resources. We advocate for the proper stewardship of our resources and for social responsibility by promoting multicultural understanding and environmental justice. www.kahea.org