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Hawaii Receives Federal Funding for Monk Seal, Sea Turtle Protection

REPORT FROM U.S. SENATOR DANIEL INOUYE'S OFFICE —Hawaii will receive $128,584 to develop and expand programs designed to protect and help preserve the Hawaiian monk seal, green sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Senator Daniel K. Akaka announced today.

The money comes from a grant administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The project will enhance efforts to reduce and document human disturbance of monk seals and sea turtles caused by growing numbers of beach goers and inshore recreational fishers on Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Hawaii island.

The project will establish the States first Marine Protected Species (MPS) program for the long-term conservation and management of monk seals and sea turtles.

The work will include developing and delivering public education products and activities. Outreach efforts will be designed to enhance public knowledge of "seal-friendly" and "turtle-friendly" ocean recreation and fishing practices.

The work will also entail direct intervention at popular beaches and fishing areas.

"Protecting the monk seal, the most endangered fin-footed marine mammal in U.S. waters, the green sea turtle and the hawksbill turtle will require a concerted effort by all who use the ocean.  The alleged killing of four monk seals during the last six months highlights the immediate need for a combination of intervention and culturally sensitive education and outreach.  This grant will continue the process of correcting misinformation about the monk seal while also addressing the challenges facing the green sea and hawksbill turtles.  We must be diligent stewards of the ocean and I am very pleased the administration recognizes the need to invest in the protection of these marine animals,” said Senator Inouye.

“The monk seal and honu are among Hawaii's most treasured native species.  We must do all we can to protect these important marine animals so that our keiki and future generations can learn from and enjoy them like we do,” said Senator Akaka.



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