Update on the Big Island Shark Attack

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers and DLNR Aquatic Resources staff are responding to a report of a shark incident that took place today between 8 to 8:30 a.m. in ocean waters between the County’s Punaluu Beach Park and Ninole, in Ka’u District of the island of Hawaii.

It was reported by Hawaii County Police that a male, 29 years old and two friends were in the water body boarding about 7 a.m. About an hour later, while the male was paddling back out, he was about 20 yards from shore when he was hit and knocked of his board by a shark. Type of shark is thought to have been a 10 to 12 foot tiger shark according to the victim’s friends.

According to DOCARE, water depth was about 8-12 feet , conditions windy with surf. The male was transported by friends via private vehicle to a hospital in Pahala with non life-threatening injuries.

Shark Sighted

Hawaii County Police have confirmed to DOCARE that Punaluu Beach Park has been closed by Hawaii County Lifeguards. Lifeguards have posted shark warning signs at Punaluu beach park, which will remain closed the rest of today. The fire department helicopter flew over the area at 10 a.m. today and will do so again tomorrow morning, If there is no further sighting of sharks the park will reopen at noon tomorrow.

Ka’u Kako’o, a local community outreach group at Punaluu will help to inform beachgoers that the beach is closed.

 

Shark Bites Woman Off Maui Beach

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) this morning closed the beaches from Polo Beach Park to the Mana Kai Maui Resort in the Kihei-Wailea area due to a shark incident earlier today. Closure is in effect until further notice.

Polo Beach

Polo Beach

DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers were informed of a shark incident between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

The female victim was approximately 30 feet seaward, north of the rocky point at Ulua Beach Park. The victim was taken to the hospital and is currently receiving medical treatment.

DOCARE and Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) staff initiated a beach closure one mile in either direction from the incident  – approximately from Polo Beach Park to the Mana Kai Maui Resort — and posted shark warning signs. DOCARE officers remain in the area to facilitate and maintain the closure.

DLNR to Close Hapuna and Kekaha Kai State Park Early On New Year’s Eve

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will close Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and Kekaha Kai State Park early on New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, 2012.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach SRA, including the Waialea Bay section, and Kekaha Kai State Park, including the Manini‘owali (Kua Bay) and Mahaiula sections, will both close at 5:00 p.m. “We are closing the park early to discourage use of fireworks, which is prohibited in state parks, and to protect the public and natural resources of the area,” said DLNR Chairperson, William J. Aila, Jr.

Normal park hours will resume on Tuesday, January 1, 2013 as follows: Kekaha Kai State Park – 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

Annual Closure of ‘Ama ‘Ama (Striped Mullet) Season Begins December 1st

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) reminds the fishing public that the season for ‘ama‘ama (striped mullet) will be closed from Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 through Sunday, March 31, 2013.

‘ama‘ama (striped mullet)

“ ‘Ama‘ama are about to enter their peak spawning season, which increases their vulnerability to fishing pressure,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “The annual winter closure is designed to help the fish reproduce successfully and protect the species from overfishing.”

Violations of the size or season restrictions can result in fines of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail, plus up to $100 for each fish taken.

“We ask the public’s kokua in complying with the closed season,” Aila said. “While it’s DLNR’s job to protect our marine resources, everyone shares in the responsibility to take care of important fish species like ‘ama‘ama to ensure their survival into the future.”

Copies of statewide fishing regulations for ‘ama‘ama and all other marine species are available in Honolulu at the DLNR-Aquatics office, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 330, and at all neighbor island DLNR-Aquatics offices. Fishing regulations can also be found on the Division of Aquatic Resources’ website at hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar. To report fish catch size or net violations, call (808) 643-DLNR (643-3567).

Department of Land and Natural Resources Takes Civil Enforcement Action Against Kahala Oceanfront Property Owners

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has taken civil enforcement action this month against 9 Kahala oceanfront property owners whose encroaching vegetation is blocking the public beach transit corridor. These cases are still pending landowner response to comply.

DLNR’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands and its Administrative Proceedings Office also jointly issued 9 Civil Resource Violation Notices between September to November targeting beach encroachment violations at sites scattered from the Diamond Head area to Hawai’i Kai on the island of O’ahu.

“Maintaining public access along the shoreline is important and fortunately, a law is in place to ensure the beaches are kept free of encroaching vegetation from coastal properties that block the public right of way,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

“Our goal is to preserve the State’s beach resources for the promotion of economic and recreational activities by Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors alike,” Aila said.

“We are pleased that so far property owners have responded positively, and have satisfactorily removed or trimmed back encroaching vegetation so that people can continue to use public beach areas,” he said.

Act 160 passed by the 2009 Legislature amended Chapter 115, HRS to reaffirm public policy of extending public use and ownership of Hawai‘i’s shoreline to ensure the public’s lateral access along the shoreline.

Under this statute, DLNR is authorized to maintain public access within beach transit corridors under Chapters 115 and 183C, HRS by requiring private property owners to ensure that beach transit corridors abutting their lands shall be kept passable and free from human–induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation that interferes or encroaches in the beach transit corridors.

After notification, property owners are given 21 days to come into compliance or face criminal fines (HRS Sec. 115-9) of $1,000 after 21 days, and $2,000 for repeated violations. Civil fines may also be levied under Sec. 183C-7, HRS up to $15,000 plus administrative and enforcement costs as well as any mitigation and restoration costs that might be incurred by the department.

Continued compliance with the law means keeping beach corridors passable and free of encroaching vegetation DLNR stresses that the community’s support and voluntary compliance are essential in fulfilling its mission in protecting the State’s coastal land and shoreline.