Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Marianas Dive Meeting

Marianas Dive PresentationLast night I presented the proposal for a "National Park of the Sea" to Marianas Dive at Porky's Bar. The place was packed with hardly an empty seat to be had.

In addition to divers, a large contingent of fishermen were there, including Jim Davies, who I personally invited. After I gave the presentation we had a spirited discussion. I explained my understanding of monuments to the best of my ability. I talked about there being an opportunity to participate in the process. I told them that local livelihoods and needs would be taken into consideration.

Discussion is good. It helps me get a feel for people's support. For example, one of the fishermen from last night admitted that he supports the idea, he just wants his concerns to be addressed.

A gentleman from Hawaii named Phil Westbrook was there. He got pretty heated when I talked about the sunset clause for the existing 8 vessels and how those boats were going to be bought out at the end of five years. He argued that he had lobster fisherman friends who didn't get paid when the monument was created, but I pointed out that the lobster fishery was closed years before by court order. The fishery was mismanaged by WESPAC and there are no more lobster.

He told me I was wrong. I told him I'd look it up. I was right.

John Gourley was there, too. This was his fourth time attending a presentation. He must really be in support!

Just kidding.

John was there to harp on the co-management agreement. Again. His argument is basically, "I don't trust the Federal government."

Well, the Force was with me this morning, because this article was published in the Honolulu Advertiser this morning:
Many ideas for Hawaii marine preserve
It's not too late to have your say on how to run vast marine monument

By Dan Nakaso
Advertiser Staff Writer

More than 57,000 comments so far have resulted in a preliminary plan to manage the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, and government officials want even more input on how to run the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands over the next 15 years.

The four-volume, 1,200-page draft of the management plan is so massive that Gov. Linda Lingle joked yesterday that she probably won't read it herself and will leave the details to the experts.

But at a Washington Place ceremony yesterday attended by Lynn Scarlett, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, and retired Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., NOAA administrator, Lingle encouraged citizens to send even more input on the management plan for the country's largest protected marine area, which spans nearly 140,000 square miles.

William Aila served on the monument's advisory council and the Native Hawaiian advisory panel to the advisory council and attended yesterday's ceremony. He likes what he's seen so far since President Bush designated the area a marine national monument in 2006.

Aila agrees with most of the rules, such as requiring Native Hawaiians who follow traditional gathering practices to consume harvested foods within the monument. And having U.S. Fish and Wildlife personnel escort cultural practitioners lets both sides better understand each other's points of view, Aila said.

But Aila hopes the final management plan allows for traditional exceptions, such as continuing to allow a few dozen people from Ni'ihau to bring salt, bird feathers and fish out of the monument and back to family on Ni'ihau and Kaua'i as they have for generations.

"Salt is plentiful in the main Hawaiian Islands," Aila said. "But salt from special places has mana."

"The rules that are in place are good," Aila said, "but there is room to make exceptions in special cases."

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are home to more than 7,000 marine species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else. The islands are the primary habitat for critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles, and thousands of sea birds and plant species.

The state of Hawai'i, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Department of Commerce are responsible for managing the monument in accordance with the presidential proclamation that established it.

Lingle concluded yesterday's ceremony by thanking the dozens of people in the audience who fought for the Papahanaumo-kuakea Marine National Monument.

"Had you not stuck with it, government on its own would not have done this. I'm confident of that," Lingle said. [emphasis mine]
This article confirms a lot of what I have been saying about Papahanaumokuakea in my presentations.

There is co-management.

There is an on-going process with lots of input from the community.

It is supported by the Native Hawaiian community.

It allows for traditional cultural practices.

1 comment:

Bruce A. Bateman said...

Thanks for coming out, Angelo. Your presentation was well done. I think that accomodation can be reached that will work for everyone if open discussion like what occured last evening continues.

Everyone present learned a lot. I sure did.

Thanks agian, Angelo, and thanks to Marianas Dive for facilitating the event.