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Letters 2-23-14

February 23, 2014 - 12:05am

FWS has hidden agenda in delisting io

A hidden agenda exists in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s desire to delist the io.

By its own words, FWS indicates the truth of the io being listed. FWS, in 1967 when the io was listed as endangered, says they presumed the io to occupy only undisturbed native habitat and numbered in the low hundreds. Now FWS knows io occur in various native and non-native forests, pastures, and ag lands. Clearly, one wonders had FWS done their due diligence prior to listing the io, there would not have been a reason to list it 47 years ago. FWS also claims the io to be migratory. How can a migratory bird inhabit only native forests which are said to be decimated by all environmentalists? By nature will it not migrate? These are two examples of how the FWS says what they have to, to get what they want.

In 1992, FWS convinced Congress to condemn 5,300 acres of a Kona Hawaiian family’s land to save the alala, on the endangered species list, from going extinct because of the landowner’s land use of cattle ranching and logging. By 2000, the alala was extinct in the wild and not a single necropsy of demised crows was found to be the result of ranching or logging, rather primarily because of predation by the io. Another example of FWS saying what they had to, to legally rape someone else’s family lands for their own.

Since the FWS’s alala project and wrongful and condemnation was a failure, FWS has to try to save face and has already done so by capturing and trans-locating io to other parts of the island. When the migratory bird easily found its way back to Kona, FWS now wants to send the io to Molokai where all existing native forest birds have evolved without a predator. A free-for-all for the io.

Now FWS again says what they have to, to get what they want. FWS has access to some 93 alala that have been bred in captivity and are anxious to release them in the Ka‘u forest reserve in their dire effort to save face. This action will further block the locals from any and all access to the area. Hunters, hikers and cultural practitioners will be barred. Other neighboring landowners rights will be negatively impacted by such action. FWS can not save face if the io remains a threat within or in proximity of the Ka‘u forest reserve. If removed from ESA protection, FWS can and will manipulate io numbers in such a manner, whatever that manner is, to attempt to right their failure. Herein lies the hidden agenda for removing the io from ESA protection the FWS doesn’t want you to know.

Bill Rosehill

Hawaiian forest consultant


Bill would protect manta rays

This letter is in response to the letter to the editor from Jake Brothers of Kailua-Kona, published on Feb. 18.

First of all, let me applaud Mr. Brothers’ concern for manta rays in our local waters and, at the same time, clarify the intent of this bill. If passed, HB 1684 will do exactly what Mr. Brothers says he wants for the manta rays: to protect the mantas and the surrounding ocean environment, to provide control over commercial and recreational activities, and to ensure the safety of users of the surrounding waters.

The bill would expand existing protections of manta rays by requiring the Department of Land and Natural Resources to implement a system to limit the number of boats and people who interact with manta rays. Current law already establishes increasing levels of fines for those who harm, capture or kill a manta ray within state marine waters up to $10,000 and the seizure and forfeiture of any commercial marine license, vessel and fishing equipment used to commit the violation.

Unfortunately, Mr. Brothers is correct, some will break the law, no matter the severity of the measure or out of ignorance of the law. That’s why education about the manta rays and about the fragility of our entire marine environment is an important component to controlling human behavior and developing a sensitivity toward the mantas and all marine life.

There is no easy answer to balancing the increasing demand to experience our marine life and protecting the manta rays, but HB 1684 gives us the opportunity to discuss our challenges and potential solutions. We shall give his idea consideration and determine if current policy adequately addresses crowding at manta ray aggregation sites. In addition to this bill, there is another measure requesting additional funds to hire more officers within the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement including Community Fisheries Enforcement Units in each county.

Let’s all work together to keep us and the manta rays safe and healthy.

Rep. Cindy Evans

D-North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala