It’s no secret that the North Shore is teaming with green sea turtles… We see them at virtually every surfing lesson that we give. Weighing up to 700lbs and living as long as 80 years, they are gentle beautiful creatures that have graced the oceans for as long as 150 million years. With rare exceptions surfers don’t chase them, feed them or harass them in any way. The result is that surfers and turtles live in harmony in the surf and on the beautiful beaches of the North Shore and around the island of Oahu even including Waikiki.
When giving a surfing lesson, I often joke with my students that I have TADD, or Turtle Attention Deficit Disorder, because when ever I see a turtle I’m compelled to say “hi” as he or she pops it’s head up for a breath of air in the surf. One day we even rescued a little one that had fishing line wrapped all around it’s neck and flippers. Saving that young turtles long life was a beautiful moment for me and my friend, Christi.
It was not always that way back in In 1973, biologist researching the Hawaiian green sea turtle, counted only 67 nesting females on the beaches of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, to this day they don’t nest on the main Hawaiian Islands. With the population in steep decline and turtle meat and turtle shells going for $100 each on the open market, Hawaii’s honu were in deep trouble. Fortunately for them, the state of Hawaii enacted protections in 1974 and, in 1978 and Hawaiian green sea turtles were added to the federal list of endangered species, making it illegal to hunt, injure or harass them. Sadly fast forwarding to 2012 there are some who want to hunt the Honu for “subsistence purposes”. As a consequence Western Pacific Fishery Management Council is holding it’s Eighth Meeting of its Sea Turtle Advisory Committee meeting to consider a petition to have the Honu removed from the endangered species list. More details on this meeting are below. While it’s easy to understand why some people would want to hunt these beautiful creatures, the green meat is supposed to be delicious, tasting like most “good meat, just like chicken”, and the shells would be worth hundreds of dollars as wall mounts, allowing hunting of these shy but friendly creatures we will soon never see them again as they will be scared of humans.
Below is a press Release from my friend, Marjorie Ziegler, Executive Director of the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i
Aloha, everyone. Please attend if you can. I will not be able to attend, but the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i is closely monitoring a petition to NOAA by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs to remove honu from the threatened species list. We are concerned because threats to honu still exist and may actually increase over the next few decades with sea level rise, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, increased intensity of storms, and invasive species. In addition, we have not seen any data suggesting that recovery goals for the honu have been met. Removing a plant or an animal from the threatened and endangered species list is serious matter with far-reaching, sometimes irreversible implications. This is not a game. Proceed with caution. Mahalo.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), gives notice that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold the Eighth Meeting of its Sea Turtle Advisory Committee (STAC) in Honolulu, HI on Wednesday, May 23, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 24, 2012, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Council Office Conference Room, 1164 Bishop Street, Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI; telephone: (808) 522–8220. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director; telephone: (808) 522–8220.
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