Where Did We Go Wrong?

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - CUR­RENTS Ron Mizu­tani

“The oceans de­serve our re­spect and care, but you have to know some­thing be­fore you can care about it.” – Sylvia Earle

Amer­i­can marine bi­ol­o­gist and au­thor Sylvia Earle e xplored the globe for Na­tional Ge­o­graphic for years and has seen first­hand how oceans around the world have be­come de­graded and de­stroyed by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties.

More than 40 per­cent of t he world’s oceans have been heav­ily af­fected by our - ing, coastal de­vel­op­ment, pol­lu­tion and abuse of our pre­cious nat­u­ral re­sources.

Sadly, we’re not im­mune to this in­ex­cus­able behavior in Hawai‘i. De­spite be­ing sur­rounded by the Pa­cific Ocean, we’re see­ing more ex­am­ples of ig­no­rance and a lack of re­spect for our Hawaiian wa­ters and the marine life that call it home.

Our grand­par­ents would be em­bar­rassed and sad­dened to read the re­cent head­lines:

“Kaua‘i man sen­tenced to four years for ha­rass­ing preg­nant monk seal.”

“New re­port raises con­cerns

“Tur­tle found slaugh­tered on O‘ahu’s North Shore.”

“Maui men ar­rested for seal as­sault.”

On Sept. 29, Maui po­lice re­sponded to Front Street in La­haina, where wit­nesses re­ported see­ing two men ap­proach a monk seal that was sleep­ing on the shore­line and at­tempted to push it back into the wa­ter. One of the men al­legedly kicked the seal.

Thir t y - e i g h t - y e a r - o l d Lu­cas Meis­ter and 21-yearold Daniel Dav­i­son, both of La­haina, were found nearby and ar­rested. Both men were charged. Their bail was set at

Who does some­thing like this? Where’s the re­spect and where did we go wrong?

And it’s not just de­struc­tive behavior on dis­play. Greed is driv­ing many peo­ple. We are lit­er­ally steal­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties from our chil­dren and their fu­ture by de­stroy­ing our frag­ile re­sources.

- we are over­har­vest­ing other species at an alarm­ing rate, tak­ing more than we need or can even eat.

One of t hose crea­tures dis­ap­pear­ing off our rocks is a lo­cal del­i­cacy and cult urally i mpor­tant species mea­sure, but former Gov. Linda Lin­gle ve­toed it, say­ing there was no science to prove a statewide ban was a ban would en­cour­age a black mar­ket.

That was 11 years ago. Since then, law­mak­ers have con­sid­ered sev­eral mea­sures and pos­ses­sion re­stric­tions, in­clud­ing set­ting bag lim­its, ban­ning equip­ment and plac­ing mora­to­ri­ums on gath­er­ing, all with the in­tent of re

But like our monk seals, green sea tur­tles, we can have hun­dreds of laws in the books

Marine life such as Kaimana, the monk seal pup pic­tured at her new se­cret home, must be re­spected and pro­tected.

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