Kupuna islands fisheries protection hearing tonight

Email from Isaac Harp...

ATTENTION Kanaka Maoli Hawaii:

Leimana DaMate is smearing our kanaka maoli culture by misrepresenting and prostituting it to promote the Wespac fishery management council's (federal) agenda to continue the rape of Hawaii's marine resources.  Wespac already destroyed the lobster stocks, the bottomfish are getting low, and our endangered Hawaiian monk seals are starving to death around our Northwestern kupuna islands, and Wespac wants even more. They are promoting the expansion of commercial fishing in the proposed Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Sanctuary, which would require gutting the protections that 'Ilio'ulaokalani Coalition, KAHEA, Environmental Defense, and the people of Hawaii were able to help establish under the current Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve.

Read the rest, including press release and info on a hearing tonight...

Leimana, Wespac's Paid Contractor, is portraying Wespac's efforts to continue their rape of our marine resources as "Hawaiian Science." Leimana also testified at the State legislature supporting language lifted from a New Jersey Bill to block marine resource protection in Hawaii by referring to the New Jersy Bill as "Hawaiian Science." Leimana has also been lying about the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs' Resolution that calls for strong protection of our kupuna islands by misrepresenting what the Hawaiian Civic Clubs supported! She has done this at the State legislature in support of the New Jersey Bill, and at Wespac meetings held across Hawaii.

Leimana is also misrepresenting traditional Ahupua'a management by portraying Wespac's efforts to manage our deepsea bottomfish as the Ahupua'a approach. According to Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau's 1896 accounts, as translated by Mary Kawena Pukui, deep sea fisheries were the proprietary knowledge of individual fishermen, not the communal property of the Ahupua'a. There is no evidence in any well regarded literature sources that the boundaries of an Ahupua'a extended beyond the reef. The deep sea areas were instead the province of individual fishermen who located their own grounds and guarded these locations as personal secrets. This practice continues today but the use of modern technology exposes many of these sites to even the novice fisherman.

Because of decades of mismanagement of Hawaii's marine resources by Wespac, the Waianae Boat Fishing Club and the Oahu Fishing Club recently called for a federal investigation of Wespac.  The Inspector General's office is currently considering opening a formal investigation. Here's some good reading by an independent publication on how Wespac promoted the rape of Hawaii's marine resources over the last two decades: www.times.org. If Leimana were to read the info shared about Wespac, she might learn a little about the people she works for.

I am the only individual to ever serve on 6 advisory councils to Wespac at the same time, including serving as Chair of the first Native and Indigenous Rights advisory panel so I know quite a bit about Wespac and how they and those that they hire spew propoganda in support of their continued rape of Hawaii's marine resources. Former Hawaii Tuna Fishing Association President and Kupuna Lawai'a, Louis "Uncle Buzzy" Agard also knows the truth about Wespac, as does Waianae fisherman William Aila and many other kanaka maoli that have engaged Wespac over the years.

Come join us at the Ala Moana Hotel tonight, Tuesday March 14th from 6 to 9pm and speak out against the lies that are leading to the destruction of Hawaii's sustainable fisheries. For more info visit www.kahea.org

Media Alert

Marti Townsend, Kahea: 372-1314
Stephanie Fried, Environmental Defense: 235-7907
Isaac Harp, `Ilio`ulaokalani Coalition: (808) 885-8540
For more information, go to www.kahea.org

New Investigation of Wespac Finds Misuse of Federal Funds, Improper Lobbying, Sky-High Salaries, and More

Taxpayers are funding the most expensive fishery "management" in the country, besieged by crashing fish stocks

The award-winning environmental journal, Cascadia Times has just released the results of their in-depth investigation of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, known as Wespac. The Cascadia Times documented the repeated violations of federal fishing laws by Wespac officials and the abuse of federal funds to misinform the public about conservation efforts and to push for fishing in closed waters of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a violation of existing protections.

According to the investigative report, Wespac’s federally funded employees recently lobbied the state legislature to pass bills to prevent marine conservation. Their failed attempts to sway state lawmakers are an apparent violation of federal policy about the use of funds for lobbying. Wespac is also described as falsifying data on bottomfishing and misrepresenting monk seal research results.

The new investigative report finds that despite having responsibility for making recommendations on the smallest federal fisheries in United States jurisdiction (2% of all federal fisheries), Wespac has absorbed 25% of all the federal fisheries funds spent on the management of fisheries. According to Native Hawaiian fisher Isaac Harp, "This gross abuse of public trust resources must end." Harp, who served as the first Chairman of Wespac’s Native and Indigenous Rights Advisory Panel and spent time as a member of Wespac’s Crustaceans, Pelagic Bottomfish, Ecosystem and Habitat Panels, said he is "glad that Wespac’s staggering abuse of federal funds are finally being exposed" and called for a "full investigation of the Council."

The $187,469 in annual compensation paid to Wespac’s Executive Director, Kitty Simonds, is equivalent to almost one third of the revenue from the NWHI bottomfish fishery, and is higher than the salary of the Secretary of Commerce and most other public officials in the United States. Simonds’ salary includes $20,000 as a so-called "profit sharing" bonus. However, it is difficult to understand what "profits" could legally be generated by a federally-funded advisory council such as Wespac.

According to the Cascadia Times report, since 2003, NOAA officials have questioned whether federal funds allocated to Wespac for coral reef protection efforts were actually used for that purpose. In one striking example, Wespac used federal funds to charter a recreational fishing trip to Nihoa. The trip was aired on local television and depicted fishers coming within a few feet of an endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

The Oahu Game Fish Club and the Wai‘anae Boat Fishing Club have filed a formal petition for a federal investigation of Wespac by the Inspector General on charges of what local fisherWilliam Aila calls a "pattern of improper and dishonest conduct" and abuse of federal funds.

In a hearing scheduled for Tuesday evening, Wespac is, once again, proposing to open up the NWHI to increased fishing under a proposed "Sanctuary" designation, a violation of federal conservation rules and a negation of strong protections recommended by the state. "Frankly, if the proposed Sanctuary accepts Wespac’s fishing plans, federal officials will find the people of the state of Hawai`i have turned against the idea of a Sanctuary," said Stephanie Fried of Environmental Defense. "Governor Lingle has already established the extraordinary level of protections required for these fragile islands in state waters. Federal officials need to follow her lead."


Posted: Tue - March 14, 2006 at 10:42 AM    
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Published On: Mar 14, 2006 11:02 AM
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