Letters for Sunday, September 11, 2011

• How will seal sanctuary change reality? •

Trade • Stop terrorizing

How will seal sanctuary change reality?

Regarding seal sanctuaries, if the National Marine Fisheries and state Department of Land and Natural Resources adopted the model of “first do no harm” I would support them. But I perceive that they use the bureaucrats model of “do anything so as to justify a larger budget and save our jobs.”

The stories we are told of why the seals are declining do not include the true ecological impact of the NW islands fisheries catches since the 1970s (which are entirely unknown, except for diminishing targeted fish populations). Nor is the full impact of NMF and DLNR’s two shark abatement programs known. What has been the impact on the seals’ food resulting from the removal of tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of sharks, ono, uku, opakapaka, onaga, butaguchi, and other commercially valuable reef predators since the mid-1970s?

There are huge distortions in the Hawaiian Islands ecosystem created by the two shark abatement programs (1950s and 1970s) funded by the state and NMF. In the mid-1970s the adult populations of top-line inshore and reef predators — tiger, Galapagos, grey reef, and lemon sharks — were successfully targeted and decimated in a paid bounty/shark meat sales program.

The elimination of the adult tiger shark population removed the primary population control over shark pups and juveniles, resulting in today’s bumper crop of adult sharks born in the late ‘70’s and ‘80’s. The effects in the late 1970s and 1980s of a huge juvenile shark population with few predators is unknown, but had no good outcome for certain other coastal fish species. There are thousands of adult tiger sharks, and other shark species, above the “normal” population roaming Hawaiian waters today as a direct result of the last abatement program.

I have watched, and occasionally helped, the state and NMF spend oodles of our tax dollars studying fish populations and ecosystems. Sadly, the driving force in these expenditures seems to be creating job security for public employees, not resolving any issues.

The whale sanctuary in Hawai‘i is a good intention, providing some families with great-paying “green” government jobs, but had whale hunting not ended, the sanctuary would have seen few whales arriving. High seas anti-whaling and anti-drift net efforts by “nit-pickers” saved the whales, not the Hawai‘i sanctuary.

NMF has no idea how many seals, turtles, or tons of commercial fish/squid species are killed each year by illegal foreign net and hook fishing in Hawaiian waters. The various fish populations are radically different today compared to just 40 years ago when I started fishing here, with some species declining or rare, and others growing in numbers.

NMF and DLNR’s record of leadership and failed initiatives include allowing rules creating whale watcher boat collisions with whales, shark abatement programs, failure to protect the akule and opelu from commercial netting, the intentional introduction of several invasive marine species (taape, roi, etc.), and no controls over ships ballast with invasive foreign hitchhikers.

Especially troubling is their collective inability to remember history and take responsibility for their agencies flawed decisions and today’s outcomes. Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and that leaves me fearful of the outcome of turning our entire shoreline into a source of public workers lifetime employment with big government budgets.

Diminishing natural resources, diminishing public access, and agency decisions based on “good intentions” and “best guesses” are the only likely outcomes. Demonstrating the ability to enforce existing rules and regulations would be a preferable course of action to creating an even more complex and elaborate set of rules.

We currently have a 200-mile economic zone with little or no routine enforcement. If the seal population decline is caused by increased shark populations, diminished food species populations, and an increase in natural and introduced species populations competing for the seals’ food, how will an expensive and legally complex seal sanctuary change the ecological reality?

Lonnie Sykos, Kapa‘a

Trade

World trade at the top of the towers

Beginning an American day in the early morning September work day hours

The west coast still warm in its king-size bed

The east coast visits Starbucks

On its way to unknowingly burying its dead.

Our own silver birds soaring — hit their mark

As millions gaze at television sets and city streets from Battery to Central Park

Hot steel melting our structural and emotional foundation

Terror strikes on Tuesday morning

As safety and humanity take a forced vacation.

People trapped at their desks and in the halls

Frantically trying to escape the inferno within the skyscraper’s walls

Bodies jumping from the building and the fire

Our fire fighting heroes climbing up

As they trade their lives with victims of the carnage on floors much higher.

New York City is our home

And I recall Sunday on Wall Street

When my father and I would walk alone

He and I were early settlers on the Hudson River

The quiet of those city streets surrounding us

So the safety and comforts of my life he could deliver.

Fifty-four years — to the day — of that life

And I lost my balance as the science fiction of imagination cut reality like a knife

I am searching for the safety and the comfort I have always known

So I trade cynicism for patriotism

In the city, in the country, in the world I call my home.

Susan Storm, Kapa‘a

Stop terrorizing

How come it is OK for us to bomb other countries and kill their citizens but if someone does something to us it is an outrage? Killing is wrong period.

The United States has been in the business of killing for a long time. We call our soldiers heroes and anyone against us terrorist. If you put the shoe on the other foot we are the terrorists and the terrorist are the heroes.

I for one would become a terrorist if a foreign military came to my country and acted like the United States is acting today all over the world. If we truly want to honor the victims of 9/11 then we need to stop terrorizing Iraq, Afghanistan and all the other places we are meddling.

Chris Bielle, Kilauea

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