Letters for Thursday, April 6, 2017

• Evening went swimmingly • Aquarium trade must end • Please, love and respect pets

Evening went swimmingly

On Saturday night, March 25, Mokihana Aquatics celebrated our 35th anniversary with a luau, program, and a HAPA concert. More than 300 people were treated to a grand night.

They say that being a swimmer is about the stories you make through the years. The highlight of our evening was the great swimming stories from representatives of four of the greatest swim coaches to come from Hawaii: Ed Kawachika from the Big Island, Spencer Shiraishi from Maui, and Harry Mamizuka and Bill Smith from Oahu.

While all four of these great men are no longer with us, they were my personal mentors and shaped Mokihana Aquatics into what we are today. Even the mayor said he was blown away at how far and wide Mokihana Aquatics’ reach is across the state.

Of course, the luau food was great, with Lady Ipo and Hoaloha playing music, and with the HAPA concert being the cherry on top. The venue at Smith ‘s Tropical Paradise was the perfect setting.

While I could not possibly name all who worked for a year on this project it really is the people of Kauai that this is all about. To all the people of Kauai who have supported us throughout the years, I must say thank you! And, a very special mahalo to our current loyal families, the most loyal, generous, and hard-working families on the island. We call them the MokiOhana, and let me tell you, they rock!

Orlando Anaya, Kapaa

Aquarium trade must end

The Kumulipo — the Hawaiian Chant of Creation — teaches that life began with the coral polyp. Hawaii reefs are a public trust and vital to Native Hawaiian culture. Hawaii reefs support thousands of families through tourism and an ecosystem that can feed our children into the future.

The commercial aquarium trade devastates reef life, taking countless species with no limits, including young mano (sharks), puhi (eels), hee (octopus) and many other species needed for reef health.

The aquarium trade is not sustainable. It is not about catching fish to feed Hawaii and not about the future. It is simply extraction of reef wildlife for export and entertainment.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Division of Aquatic Resources have long failed to regulate the aquarium trade, deferring instead to aquarium-collector management and mainland interests, abdicating kuleana, ignoring official mandate and selling a public trust.

The Hawaii State Constitution protects our rights to a healthful environment and native Hawaiian practices. Please uphold our rights. DLNR has no policy or plan to protect Hawaii reefs. DLNR/DAR calls the aquarium trade “sustainable” with an unlimited number of collector permits and catch limits set by the aquarium trade that exceed any catch in history. The aquarium trade must end.

As a broad-based coalition, we urge the Legislature to pass SB 1240, to permanently end state-issued aquarium collector permits, grandfathering in current permit holders who comply. We are Hawaiian cultural practitioners, tourism professionals, conservation groups, fishermen and individuals who cannot abide this failure of reef stewardship.

We call on Senate President Ron Kouchi, House Speaker Joe Souki, and Gov. David Ige for leadership on this long-standing issue that benefits our economy and helps our reefs. SB 1240 lets the aquarium trade fade from Hawaii without penalizing current collectors. Nobody gets hurt. Please finalize SB 1240 to end aquarium permitting in Hawaii. No transfer. No sale. No more.

Robert Wintner, Kihei

Please, love and respect pets

I was working the last couple of days in a neighborhood in Kilauea town. A neighborhood that was bustling with plenty activity. Even the dogs were talking to each other. One would bark and wherever another dog could hear it he or she would answer back.

There was a dog next door to where I was working. He had a very unusual bark. It sounded more like yowling than anything close to barking. The second day I was there he would yowl, it drew my interest to see how this guy performs his unusual bark.

When I peaked through the bushes I could see the back of his head from inside his house. Whistling to him I began to realize he was like me can’t hear very well. I spent about two minutes at the fence with this dog and then realized he wasn’t barking at all, he was just trying to get someone’s attention that he has been abused for a long time and he just wants someone to hear, I need help and I have barked so long that I have developed a callus in my throat.

Struggling with his leash unable to reach his water bowl, which was empty anyway. This guy brought tears to this old man. I promised him I would be his messenger and I hope his owners or neighbors read my letter and realize he needs immediate attention. Please love, respect, and be responsible for him, it’s not his fault.

Steve Martin, Kapaa

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