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2014-06-02. Big Island Senator: Whales and Honu Have Too Many Protections.

posted Jun 6, 2014, 9:53 AM by Alan Gould
For GSS Losing Biodiversity chapter 8.  Excerpt: Sen. Malama Solomon says people should be prioritized over whales and green sea turtles. She wants NOAA to delist them as endangered. ...Hawaii’s whale population has increased 20-fold since the days of Gov. George Ariyoshi.... Last year, a group of Hawaii fishermen filed a petition with NOAA to have the whales removed from the endangered species list, noting their growing numbers. The humpback whales in the North Pacific have increased to more than 21,000 today, from about 1,400 in the mid-1960s, according to the Associated Press. The global whale population was decimated by the commercial whaling industry beginning in the early 20th century. In 1973, the federal government made it illegal to hunt or harm them. They are protected not only by the Endangered Species Act, but also by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Hawaii wildlife laws and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. In 1992, the U.S. Congress created the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, jointly managed by NOAA and the state of Hawaii. ...The “waters around the main Hawaiian islands constitute one of the world’s most important North Pacific humpback whale habitats, and the only place in U.S. coastal waters where humpbacks reproduce,” according to NOAA’s web site. ...The population of green sea turtles in Hawaii has also increased since they were placed on the endangered species list in 1978. ...increased six-fold since the 1970s, according to The Garden Island. NOAA is currently reviewing whether they should be delisted.... By Sophie Cocke, Honolulu Civil Beat. http://www.civilbeat.com/2014/06/big-island-senator-whales-honu-many-protections/