“Environmentalism is about saving our communities. It is about the power of the community asserting itself on these environmental issues that will directly affect our future generations.”
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., SOS Clean Oceans Conference 1997
We hope to enlist the help of like minded people and organizations worldwide so that we as a whole can make a positive change in conservation practices in Hawaii, Polynesia, and the World. Many places in Hawaii are on the verge of becoming protected areas, and we as a whole can work to implement these changes efficiently and positively!
From “The Garden Island” Newspaper 2004.
With over a million people living in Hawaii and hundreds
of thousands of tourists visiting yearly; Hawaiian huis, environmental groups, community members, and scientists alike are realizing that our marine resources are in trouble.
We need to know what our reefs look like and how abundant they are in different places around the island. Baseline surveys of our Marine Resources are imperative. What this means is that locals and scientists must examine the near shore marine coral reef as well as measure ocean health in offshore areas around each island. Baseline surveys are important to discover the health and abundance of animals on the reef, noting areas of importance and abundance, like where juvenile fish may shelter, turtle or monk seal areas, heavy coral spawning sites, other notable features as well as shoreline activity. Mapping the near shore with GPS (global positioning system), GIS (geographic information systems), as well as video and digital photo documentation can show the community what the reefs look like, provide an archive of the reef health if something was to harm it, and then let the community decide what is best for our reefs.
The state appointed stewards of Hawaii, the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) and DAR (Division of Aquatic Resources) have a severely limited budget, and their funding is constantly being cut. These men and women, local and introduced, are doing the best they can with what they have, and are working hard to
help Hawaii protect our ocean and land.
Many local groups here on Kauai like Waipa, Limahuli Valley, Hanalei Watershed Hui, Malama Maha’ulepu, Nawiliwili Watershed Council, Save Our Seas, and Reef Check have seen that their own fish catch sizes decreasing, and less abundance of marine animals. They have already taken action and currently are monitoring and surveying local reefs, while training community members, and high school students in these techniques that support Ahupua’a, MPA (Marine Protected Area) and resource conservation projects. Currently, there are NO Marine Protected Areas on Kauai! All of the other islands have them, but we must ask ourselves why we have none here.
Marine Protected Areas have many different designations, some are Hawaiian Sustenance Fishing grounds where native Hawaiians may fish, some are Fish Replenishment and Management Areas, where fish are left by fisherman and collectors to recover and “seed” other areas as ocean currents take the young of these animals and spread them around the islands. Some MPA’s, like the tourist hot spot Hanauma Bay on Oahu, are Marine Life Conservation Districts and are completely protected areas only open to certain activities and even restrictions about fish feeding, litter, and suntan lotion apply. These areas are created by the community, for the community, and it is up to us to get together and make these Marine Protected Areas places that we all can agree on.
Efforts must be made to further educate fishermen on the successful programs already in place like the Ulua (jack trevally), Oio (bone fish), Opakapaka (pink snapper), and Ahi (yellow fin tuna) tagging programs. These programs show that many fish species move around and leave MPA reserves. Fisherman must also work with the community
to make rules and help enforce rules because our own government can not. Bottom fishing and “gill net task forces” must take action and find ways to create restrictions on themselves so that they may care for fish populations, our resources.
Mike Sakamoto, author and TV personality has proposed “a Fishing Task Force to look into a Marine License, smaller bag limits, slot limits, closed seasons on ulua and other species, an ulua enhancement program (stocking of ulua) and other enhancement programs…” as well as “Spear Fishing Task Forces” so that we the fishermen come up with size and bag limits, tournament restrictions, and night diving regulations. All of these ideas are a great way to increase and monitor populations, and the community certainly will be able to come up with more.
The management of Hawaii’s marine resources must evolve. Hawaii’s marine resources must be protected by
us working together, with help from the state and federal agencies, to make sure that areas of high diversity are preserved and that future generations may have plentiful resources, we must create a bounty that will ensure the legacy of those that live on these islands.
Captain Paul Clark
The Voyage of the Kaisei is an on-going “Peace-Keeping” initiative that utilizes education and research to promote a fundamental change in the international attitude toward its ocean. The Kaisei’s enlightening programs created by SOS are geared towards students of all ages and all countries. The Sailing Academy is a foreign exchange program for younger students interested in cultural harmony and the pursuit of building life-long friendships with people from other places.
Sunday August 1st, 2004 Kaisei set sail for the island of Ni’ihau with some lucky local students and a United Nations Film crew. These students learned how to sail a brigantine tall ship, ocean stewardship, and coral reef monitoring. Kaisei anchored off the North shore of Ni’ihau that evening and the crew was treated to a spectacular moonrise over the cliffs. The boat weighed anchor the next morning to run into the beginning of the tropical storm that blasted the island last Wednesday. Though the trip was slow returning, Kaisei and its professional crew arrived safely back in Hanalei late the next day.
A percent of Kaisei’s fuel was BioDiesel, or recycled vegetable oil donated by Pacific BioDiesel of Maui. Save Our Seas incorporates alternative energy sources as part of a conscious effort to decrease the world’s reliance on petro-chemicals. The new SOS alternative energy program focuses on Solar Plus energy, Wind generated energy, Hydrogen Fuel Cells, BioDiesel, and other viable alternative fuel sources.
The Tropic Bird is owned by Terry Donnelly of Blue Dolphin Charters, Ltd. Terry has been in the ocean recreation and tourist business on Kauai since 1980. He started out teaching scuba diving and now has a charter boat business, Blue Dolphin Charters, Ltd.
On July 7th, 2003, The Tropic Bird, voyaged down the Na Pali Coast to Nualolo Kai. (The first OP @ Sea trip) Students from the Youth Conservation Corp (YCC), and the Kaua’i Children’s Discovery Museum (KCDM) were taught by local Educators about the Na Pali coast on the way to Nualolo Kai. At Nualolo Kai, the YCC was led by Sabra Kauka, President of the Na Pali Coast Ohana, to the ancient fishing village and temple site, and the students preformed preservation work and cultural activities. The KCDM was led by Donna Brown of REEF.org, and Maui Community College, Marine Option Program in a fish count and identification that will be added to a global database. Dave Raney led Reef Check divers on a reef survey that will be added to their global database.
On Sunday, October 5th, 2003, The Tropic Bird once again had a successful trip educating students from the Kaua’i Children’s Discovery Museum (KCDM) and Myron B. Thompson Academy (MBTA). Students and community members were taught by local Educators, from UH Sea Grant, Reef Check, NOAA, and SOS about the flora, fauna and geology of Kipu Kai and Maha’ulepu. A Reef Check Survey was preformed within the Nawiliwili harbor inside the break wall, and a myriad of interesting and unique reef creatures and fish were found and surveyed. This trip was filmed by Storyteller Media, an international film crew from Australia.
February 8, 2004 Kaua’i Children’s Discovery Museum (KCDM) and Myron B. Thompson Academy (MBTA). Students and community members voyaged to Kipu Kai to survey the south side of the bay and watch Humpback Whales.
Drug Free Learning Environment: As part of the militaries zero tolerance for drugs, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) implemented a random drug-testing program for all charter boats. This random drug-testing program has been very effective. Students actively participate in this program and are rewarded with incentives (like boat or helicopter trips, t-shirts etc.) donated from the community, a great deterrent for drugs. Students, crew, and captains will avoid certain situations because drugs may be around.
SOS sends out a big Mahalo to Terry Donnelly of Blue Dolphin Charters for his dedication to our community! Terry Received our first coconut award!