THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

171

TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 


SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

 

 

URGING THE STATE OF HAWAII TO RECOGNIZE THE THIRD SATURDAY OF EVERY APRIL AS "HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL DAY" AND TO COORDINATE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOVERY PLAN for the HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL WITH THE FEDERAL AND COUNTY GOVERNMENTS.

 

 

 


     WHEREAS, the Hawaiian monk seal, monachus schauinslandi, is endemic to the Hawaiian islands and known to native Hawaiians as ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua, or "dog running in rough waters"; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Hawaiian monk seal is one of the world's most critically endangered marine mammals and the nation's most endangered endemic marine mammal; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Hawaiian monk seal was designated Hawaii's official state mammal on July 1, 2008, by Act 72, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Hawaiian monk seal, as a species, is 13 million years old; older than the islands of Maui and Hawaii; and

 

     WHEREAS, less than 1,200 Hawaiian monk seals remain in the Hawaiian archipelago; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Hawaiian monk seal may be the last of its genus to survive because the Caribbean monk seal was last sighted in the late 1950s and officially declared extinct in June 2008, and the Mediterranean monk seal has declined to the small population of approximately 500; and

 

     WHEREAS, human and environmental factors such as habitat loss, competition for food supply, marine debris entanglement, disease, shark predation, and climate change have contributed to the species decline; and

 

     WHEREAS, Hawaiian monk seals are protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), which listed the Hawaiian monk seal as endangered in 1976; and

 

     WHEREAS, the MMA and ESA protect the species and the ecosystems on which they depend, and make harming, harassing, taking, or killing these animals subject to fines of up to $50,000; and

 

     WHEREAS, most of the Hawaiian monk seal population exists in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands where the seal population is rapidly declining at the rate of four percent per year; and

 

     WHEREAS, the population of Hawaiian monk seals found in the main Hawaiian islands is increasing slightly from its current population estimated at between 100 and 150; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Recovery Plan for the Hawaiian Monk Seal (monachus schauinslandi), Second Revision, (Recovery Plan) was approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in August 2007; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Recovery Plan includes the need for public education and outreach to develop best practices for humans to enable the seals to survive; and

 

     WHEREAS, Earth Day, which is a recognition of the importance of earth's biodiversity, is celebrated in the month of April; and

 

     WHEREAS, every third Saturday of April is the day NOAA conducts a statewide monk seal count; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, the House of Representatives concurring, that the State of Hawaii designate the third Saturday of every April as "Hawaiian Monk Seal Day" to coincide with NOAA's statewide annual monk seal count; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this day be designated as a day to educate residents and visitors about how to protect this critically endangered species; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Land and Natural Resources coordinate with the county governments and NOAA to implement the Recovery Plan; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Chairperson of the Board of Natural Resources, mayors of the counties, chairpersons of the county councils, and Administrator of NOAA.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

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Report Title: 

Hawaiian Monk Seal Day