The headline for the newspaper’s lead story today (Nov. 12) states, “Experts disagree on fish populations.” Although the article quotes various people on their opinions, they spoke with only one expert, that is the state marine biologist for West Hawaii, Dr. William Walsh.
The article states extensively that Rene Umberger, a dive instructor on Maui, claims to know all about how many fish we have in West Hawaii. Please be aware that Umberger has no, repeat, no scientific training or experience in marine biology. Last year she was giving talks to anyone who would listen and was promoting a lot of false information.
When I asked her what marine biology qualifications she had that would give her the authority to question the analysis and conclusions of a Ph.D, who not only lives here in West Hawaii, but has been studying these reefs for years, Umberger replied that she had no scientific background but she knew how to make up numbers.
If this article is assuming that Umberger is an “expert,” then it is very mistaken. No scientist would ever say that she didn’t need the studies but that her eyes told her what the real situation was.
So, to reiterate: Umberger is no more than a dive instructor; she doesn’t live here; she has no qualifications to be making these remarks.
I just want to make it clear that only one expert was consulted, and he says there are more fish.
A good concept, but badly executed
The Public Land Development Corp. may be a good concept, but to give that kind of unrestrained authority to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the most dysfunctional department in the state, is like leaving teenagers alone with the keys to the liquor cabinet and the car.