Aloha, everyone. Please submit testimony to the state House Water, Land, and Ocean Resources Committee and House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee opposing state resolutions HR 20 and HCR 38, both of which oppose proposed critical habitat designation by NOAA under the federal Endangered Species Act for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal on the main Hawaiian islands (see CCH talking points below).
Both resolutions will be heard by House Committees on Water, Land, and Ocean Affairs and Energy and Environmental Protection this Friday, March 2, 2012 at 11:05 am in conference room 325. To view the hearing notice, resolutions, and status, go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2012/hearingnotices/HEARING_WLO-EEP_03-02-12_.HTM . To submit testimony, go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx?billtype=HCR&billnumber=38
As you know, there is a lot of misinformation about critical habitat, opposition to critical habitat designation and other recovery actions needed to prevent our seal from going extinct, and hostility toward this animal. Quite frankly, I have never witnessed such hostility towards a native Hawaiian animal in all my years working on wildlife issues here. This is your chance to speak out for the monk seal and show support for conserving this precious endemic Hawaiian species. Elected officials are hearing from people who oppose critical habitat and other recovery actions for the seal. They also need to hear from folks who love and support the seal.
Please take a few minutes and submit brief testimony opposing these resolutions. Apologies for duplicate postings. Mahalo nui loa.
Introduced by: Rep. Jerry Chang, Sharon Har, and Cynthia Thielen
Hearing: Friday, March 2, 2012 11:05 am conference room 325 Hawai’i State Capitol
CCH Position: Strongly oppose HCR 38 and HR 20
CCH Talking Points
- I support critical habitat designation around the main Hawaiian islands because it will help protect the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
- The Hawaiian monk seal population is declining rapidly and will likely go extinct if we do not take action to help it survive.
- The Hawaiian monk seal is part of our cultural and natural heritage. It is found only in the Hawaiian islands, and it is part of the legacy we leave for children and generations to come.
- Critical habitat is a tool that can help agencies, organizations, and individuals who are working hard to prevent the Hawaiian monk seal from going extinct.
- Critical habitat prevents federal agencies from taking, funding, or approving actions that will destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. If a federal action destroys or adversely modifies critical habitat, that action will probably also destroy marine ecosystems, fishing, gathering, and ocean recreation.
- Critical habitat is defined under the federal Endangered Species Act as: (1) specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing, if they contain physical or biological features essential to conservation, and those features may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species if the agency determines that the area itself is essential for conservation.
- Although critical habitat has been designated on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the monk seal population is declining due to high pup-mortality and other factors that have nothing to do with critical habitat designation.
- Critical habitat designation on the NWHI is not the cause of the declining monk seal population there.
- Similarly, designation of critical habitat around the main Hawaiian islands will not automatically recover the seal and bring it back from the brink of extinction.
- Critical habitat will prevent federal agency actions from destroying or adversely modifying those areas.
- Critical habitat is part of the federal Endangered Species Act; it makes sense that federal agencies cannot destroy or adversely modify the habitat necessary for the Hawaiian monk seal to recover.
- Areas can be excluded from critical habitat if the economic benefit of excluding such areas outweigh the benefits unless excluding such areas may result in the extinction of the species.
- Let us work together to protect this magnificent species.
- We urge everyone to help recover the monk seal instead of blaming seals for declining fish stocks (not true) and alleging that critical habitat will prevent all ocean uses (not true).
- Someday, we may all realize the value of critical habitat, not only for the seals, but for everyone who uses and enjoys the marine environment.