Alexander Stone reefkeeper at
Thu Jul 20 06:04:14 EDT 2000


A DC public hearing on the management of coral reefs in the Northwestern
Hawaiian Islands will be held ON FRIDAY, JULY 21st in Washington DC.  If
you are in DC, we urge your group to attend and ask that at least half
of the coral reef ecosystem be designated as no-take marine reserves. 
Feel free to use the talking points given below.  If you cannot attend,
please try to submit written comments by August 2, 2000.

WHAT:  Public Comment on the Protection of Coral Reef Ecosystems of the
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
WHEN:  Friday, July 21, 2000, from 1-4 pm
WHERE:  Department of Commerce Auditorium, 14th and Constitution NW,
Washington DC

Additional information, including how to send written comments, is
available at

Thank you for your help in protecting the coral reefs of Hawaii.

Alexander Stone
ReefKeeper International
phone: (305) 358-4600
e-mail: reefkeeper at


1.  At least 50% of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) coral reef
ecosystem should be designated as "no-take", with the removal of any
marine organisms by commercial or recreational interests prohibited.

2.  The NWHI coral reef ecosystems present qualities as a unique large
scale coral reef ecosystem still relatively undisturbed and intact when
compared to reefs closer to population centers, and contain some species
found nowhere else in the Hawaiian Islands.

3.  The NWHI coral reef ecosystems function as a refuge for the
endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal, threatened species of turtles and birds,
and the large population of birds that nest and forage there.

4.  The current lack of regulations prohibiting extraction of coral reef
resources from the NWHI threatens the ecosystem.  Protection presently
occurs only within the boundaries of National Wildlife Refuges and for
certain fish species covered by Fishery Management Plans under the
Magnuson Stevens Act.

        Other threats to the NWHI coral reef ecosystems include:
Vessel groundings: physical, chemical, and biological damage 
Damage by active fishing gear: traps, nets, lines 
Damage by derelict fishing gear and other marine debris 
Ghost fishing by lost traps and other gear 
Overfishing, especially lobster, which may be affecting food supply of
monk seal pups and lobster recruitment in the main Hawaiian islands 
Seabird, turtle, and shark bycatch 

5.  Appropriateness of use of the NWHI coral reef ecosystems must be
related to the type of use proposed, the proposed location of the use,
and the scale of the use. All uses and activities should be subject to
permit requirements and monitoring.  Non-extractive cultural,
educational, recreational, and scientific activities in appropriate
locations and at levels consistent with the protection of endangered and
threatened species and the coral reef ecosystem are appropriate. 
Commercial and recreational fishing and other activities are appropriate
only in zoned areas designated as non-sensitive by the United States
Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Hawaii, and the National Marine
Fisheries Service.

6.  Any activity or use that would individually or cumulatively degrade
coral reef resources would be inappropriate and disallowed under
Executive Order 13089 for the Protection of Coral Reefs.

7.  The entire NWHI chain should be managed as an integral unit,
including Midway and Kure atolls.  Management should be done in
collaboration and cooperation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency,
National Marine Fisheries Service, and the State of Hawaii under a
management regime which includes an advisory body consisting of
individuals representing commercial fishing, recreational fishing,
educational, scientific, conservation, and native Hawaiian interests,
and including the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council in
an advisory capacity.

8.  The NWHI coral reef ecosystem should be managed at a
food-chain-level, rather than a species-level, using zoned marine
protected areas, including no-take areas, and with adequately sized
buffer zones surrounding the no-take areas.

9.  Ongoing integrated coral reef ecosystem monitoring and assessment
should be conducted, including:
Reef fish distribution, assessment and nursery habitat 
Monk seal and green sea turtle movement, foraging and habitat use 
Seabird monitoring, including interactions with fishing vessels and gear 

10.  Assessments of impacts of fishing and fishing gear, marine debris,
vessel groundings, oil and chemical spills should be conducted.

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