Commentary – Video of Shark Being Caught “Has Brought Shame To Our Island”

Recently, a video filmed at Honokohau Harbor has brought shame to our island. The video depicts some young people landing a large Tiger shark on the rocks at the harbor entrance. The tackle used is ropes tied to the land. This was neither fishing for food or sport-fishing where the animal is fought with a rod. It was simply disrespect.

Still shot from the video

Still shot from the video

The shark is an important part of the Hawaiian culture. For some, the shark is ‘aumakua. But for all, the shark was respected, not a plaything: “(In old Hawai’i, catching the niuhi was the game of the chiefs, a dangerous sport for which special techniques were developed, according to historian Mary Kawena Pukui. Eating niuhi flesh was also taboo to women.) [http://www.moolelo.com/shark-respected.html]”

Today, sharks are globally threatened by the finning industry, which wastes the life of the shark for a few pounds of fin. Meanwhile, live sharks are an economic benefit to the dive industry. Shark dives bring in at least $125,000,000 per year globally and any Big Island dive operator can attest to the enthusiasm that’s generated even by a small reef shark.

Further, the sharks at Honokohau are well known to the community. Everyone knows Laverne, the largest resident female, but the shark in the video is Tony. (Tony survived: He was filmed by some divers two weeks after the video was shot.) You can see photos of Tony and the other tiger sharks of Honokohau at (http://milisenphotography.yolasite.com/tiger-shark-id.php)[http://milisenphotography.yolasite.com/tiger-shark-id.php].

When the young men in the video returned the shark to the water, they were putting a large injured predator back into an area where dozens of people swim every day. Alua Beach, a popular place for families to bring keiki, is only a few hundred yards from where the shark was landed. There are multiple dive sites within a quarter mile to either side of the boat channel.

As with most regular divers at Honokohau, I’ve watched the sharks and the sharks have watched me. I’ve never forgotten that these are apex predators and need to be treated with respect (and watched from a distance). The sharks are there because it’s their natural territory and, probably, because of scraps from fisherman. There’s never been a shark attack reported at Honokohau.

Since:

Sharks are important and culturally respected by native Hawaiians; and – Sharks are not targeted by shore-fisherman for either sport or food; and – The area is frequented by swimmers, SCUBA divers, and free divers:

I would ask that the County of Hawai’i and/or DNLR to declare the area near the entrance of Honokohau Harbor as a “niuhi conservation zone” and forbid the intentional targeting by fisherman of large sharks within that area. The ban should forbid the use of hooks larger than those used for commonly-targeted sports and food fish and the use of anchored ropes or chains for fishing.

Larry O’Brien, Kailua-Kona

Boat Brought To Honokohau Harbor By Fisherman Is Potentially Japan Tsunami Marine Debris

A Kona fisherman has retrieved what could be the sixth confirmed item of Japan tsunami marine debris in Hawaii.

Honokohau Harbor

Honokohau Harbor

Yesterday afternoon, Randy Llanes, Kona captain of the fishing vessel Sundowner, brought to Honokohau small boat harbor, a 24-foot Japanese net boat with a deep “V” bow that was found floating about 4 miles out at sea. Other vessels reportedly had been fishing around it that morning, since fish are attracted to the marine growth and the protection a boat provides.

Llanes contacted the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) marine debris call-in line at (808) 587-0400 and kept in touch with Hawaii District Boating Manager, Nancy Murphy, to coordinate his arrival Tuesday afternoon at Honokohau.

DLNR immediately notified the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program and kept the program informed at all times. NOAA in turn notified its U.S. Coast Guard and National Parks Service contacts. The state Department of Health has been contacted regarding a testing for radiation levels.

While still at sea, Llanes spoke by phone with DLNR’s aquatic invasive species specialist, Jonathan Blodgett, who determined that Llanes had already scraped off blue mussels, an alien species in Hawaii, well out at sea, leaving only typical gooseneck barnacles that are common pelagic species and not harmful to native marine species.

Llanes told DLNR officials the skiff appeared identical to the four other small boats that have arrived in Hawaii waters since October 2012. He said he found it upside down and flipped it over.

As was done with the other four boats, NOAA will work with the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu and Government of Japan on determination of the vessel’s origin and owner, if possible.

“On behalf of NOAA and the State of Hawaii, we ask that anyone who finds personal items, which may have come from the tsunami, to please report them to county, state and/or federal officials,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “Please show aloha and respect to the people of Japan, and the regions that suffered devastation from the 2011 tsunami. Remember, these items may be all someone has left.”

By being able to communicate with this boater in advance of his arrival, DLNR was able to quickly provide important guidance to prevent introduction of possible invasive marine species to island waters, and to ensure the skiff was met on arrival and properly handled and stored pending ownership verification.

DLNR recommends that boaters, fishers and coastal users view online guidelines for reporting and handling marine debris, including possible Japan tsunami marine debris (JTMD). They can be found on DLNR’s updated website at www.hawaii.gov/dlnr.

 

Fisherman Catches Shark From Land at Honokohau Harbor on the Big Island – The Fish That Got Away

Well these fishermen got the catch of the day inside of Honokohau Harbor on the Big Island the other day.  A shark that looked to be about 3 to 5 feet in length latched onto their catch!

Honokohau Harbor is located on the West side of the Big Island and it kind of trips me out the shark was caught from land!

You can see from the video below that the released the shark after after they were able to cut the line… But I have to ask the question… what were they thinking even bringing the shark into shore?  Cut the line already and let it go… or possibly lose a hand!