A controversial federal fishing permit for cultural practices was approved for the national conservatory monument, Papahanaumokuakea. The permit allows native Hawaiian people to conduct cultural fishing operations in the monument and recoup up to $15,000 in costs through “customary exchange,” or selling their fish. Opponents question the permits since native Hawaiians did not fish in the areas prior to the monument’s establishment. Cultural practices included fishing from the shore, not 130 miles from Kauai and 280 miles from Oahu. The chair of the monument’s Reserve Advisory Council argued, “why are you going to go up there when you have fish available right off your shoreline?” The council does not expect NOAA to accept the recommendation since the goals are inconsistent with the goals of the sanctuary.
Hawaii researchers tagged a nine-foot tiger shark that sent back thousands of reports on the shark’s location and ocean temperatures. The shark swam in depths of more than 1,600 feet and in waters ranging from 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The trial provides proof that data can be collected below the surface where satellites are unable to measure. Researchers hope the additional data will better guide conservation efforts.
A study published December 22nd provides strong evidence the magma chambers of Mauna Loa and Kilauea are connected deep underground. The theory explains why both Mauna Loa and Kilauea eruptions ended about the same time. The pancake like structures at depths of 10 to 100 kilometers, called sills, channel magma both laterally and upward supplying the two volcanic chambers.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 275,000 acres on Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island will be designated critical habitat for the iiwi, the most threatened of the Hawaii honeycreepers. An estimated 600,000 of the red birds with curved beaks and black wings live on the Big Island (90%), Maui (9%), and Kauai (1%). The designation of land is in response to a lawsuit by the Center of Biological Diversity.