Ocean Fair at Kilauea Lighthouse highlights work with humpback whales in Hawaiian waters

At the 2003 Kaua’i Family Ocean Fair, a dozen booths were set up at Kilauea Lighthouse to celebrate the sixth anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands and Kaua’i.

Hawai’i is the only place in the U.S. where humpbacks reproduce. Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the entire North Pacific humpback whale population (approximately 4,000-5,000 whales) migrate to Hawaiian waters for breeding, calving and nursing activities, according to the Hawaiian Humpback Whale Sanctuary Web page.

This year’s Ocean Fair featured musical entertainment and ocean-related educational booths.

This year, the Kaua’i Invasive Species Committee presented examples of the “green monster” taking over Lake Wilson on O’ahu. The water fern, salvinia molesta, is native to Brazil and is illegal to possess in the United States. Still, it has been found in ponds on the South Shore and reported in Kilauea, according to natural resource management assistant Sarah Newton.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the creation of the first National Wildlife Refuge, at Pelican Island in Sebastian, Fla., Kilauea Post Office personnel were issuing national first-day issue stamps and postmarks on postcards that could be purchased at the lighthouse and plain envelopes.

Protected species specialist David Nichols and marine debris and coral reef specialist Molly Timmers, both of the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, showed pictures of hurt whales and samples of fishnet recovered within the sanctuary.

Timmers said last year, 240 tons of debris was recovered, and after the nets, bottles and other trash was chopped up and incinerated, it created enough electricity to power 35-36 homes for a year.

In preparation for April’s Tsunami Awareness Month, Rick Gaza of the National Weather Service showed off some educational tools to help explain the effects of air and water pressure and temperature.

Kids and families got to use stampers to design their own marine sanctuary, get free temporary tattoos and make free refrigerator magnets.

O’ahu acting group ‘Ohi’a Productions did a performance of “Peril in Paradise.” The melodrama told the story of a Hawaiian rain forest and its native species overcome by “alien invaders,” including a mongoose, rat, mosquitoes, banana poka and birds-and especially, the humans who introduced them.

The players were Kevin Yamada, Jana Anguay, Denise White and Allan Lau.

Mark Rossi performed traditional Hawaiian music in the morning, and a lively set by Kaua’i music group Papa’a Bay Boys ended the day.

On Kaua’i, the humpback sanctuary includes the north end of Kahili Bay in Kilauea to Ka’ilio Point in Ha’ena.

Other areas in the sanctuary include a section in the North Shore of O’ahu near Kahuku, the southeast tip of O’ahu, an area in the channels between Maui, Kaho’olawe and Moloka’i, and the northwest corner of the Big Island.

Web resources:

http://pacificislands.fws.gov/wnwr/kkilaueanwr.html, http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov, www.ohia.com.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at mailto:kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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