Detangling Hooked Up Monk Seals

From Maui TV News

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and NOAA Fisheries today announced the health status of two recently hooked monk seals.  Since March 2012, NOAA Fisheries, DLNR and partners have responded to five seal hooking incidents involving four individual Hawaiian monk seals.

HOOKED – Hawaiian Monk Seals, inadvertently “hooked” by commercial fishermen, have about a 50/50 chane of survival. (DLNR Photo)

 

“Monk seals are a vital part of Hawai‘i’s marine and cultural environment,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.  “Thanks to the citizens who reported the hooking of monk seal Kolohe, we are pleased to announce that he has recovered and was released back on Kaua‘i on Monday.

“Unfortunately, Sharkbite’s recovery was not successful, increasing the total now to three cases where hooking have been the likely cause of death of monk seals.  We want to partner with the fishermen to reduce impacts.  Following guidelines and reporting hookings can help make a relatively small impact become even smaller.

“Handling these hookings has been very labor and resource intensive and could not be possible without significant support and leadership from several partners. NOAA and DLNR, along with all of our partners, would like to take this opportunity to remind fishermen that monk seal deaths and injuries from fishing interactions can often be prevented, and adverse impacts to fishermen and seals can be reduced through early reporting of incidents.”

The agencies offer guidelines, titled “Hawaiian Monk Seals and Fishing Interactions: Guidelines for Prevention, Safety and Reporting,” that describe actions fishermen can take to avoid seal hookings and entanglement, and to reduce fishing gear and bait loss.  The guidelines also stress the importance of reporting all fishing interactions.
The guidelines are available at the following link: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/Library/PRD/Hawaiian%20monk%20seal/HMS-fishing_guidelines-FINAL-PUBLIC.pdf

The toll-free, 24/7 reporting hotline for all fishing interactions and other marine mammal incidents is: 1-888-256-9840.  NOAA and DLNR urge all fishermen and other ocean users to write down this hotline and/or save it in their mobile phones for timely use whenever a seal is hooked or entangled.

Read more at Maui TV News

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