Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016

Humpback whales are back to give birth and raise calves for the winter. Photo by Flip Nicklin/Minden Pictures  
Photo from NOAA
HUMPBACK WHALE SEASON is here. Members of the Northern Pacific stock of humpback whales have already been seen off Hawai`i Island, as early as late October. The humpbacks winter in southern waters from western Mexico to Hawai`i and southern Japan islands. They give birth and raise their calves until they leave in Spring, swimming to northern waters to feed all Summer. According to a Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary statement: "Scientists estimate that approximately 12,000 humpback whales migrate from their high-latitude feeding grounds off Alaska to breed, calve and nurse their young each year in Hawai`i’s warm waters. While some have already begun to arrive, the majority will be here between January and March – the peak of the whale season."
Humpback whales are headed here and to Japan and Mexico to winter.
Image from NOAA
     The Sanctuary reports that the humpbacks "have increased in numbers since the days they were hunted. While Hawai`i’s iconic humpback whales are no longer protected by the Endangered Species Act, threats and concerns still exist and protections are still afforded by different state and federal agencies, including Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary."
     Staff at the Sanctuary warn that "Collisions between whales and vessels occur annually and these events present serious risks to boaters as well as the whales. Whale calves are vulnerable to vessel strikes because they are difficult to see as they rest just under the surface. Young whales also must surface more frequently."
    Ocean users are required to keep a safe distance and refrain from approaching humpback whales within 100 yards by any means – in a vessel, on a surf board or swimming. While these annual visitors attract wildlife enthusiasts, they also pose safety hazards to ocean users "when these 45-ton marine mammals surface, breach or slap their massive tails or flippers."
    Entanglement is another major threat to humpback whales, cautions the Marine Sanctuary, which receives dozens of reports of whales entangled in gear each whale season. "While large whales are not in immediate risk of drowning, entanglement may result in starvation, physical trauma, infections, and may contribute to ship strikes since the animals are less mobile."
Humpback whales are identified by markings on their tails.
Photo from NOAA
    Hawaiian Islands Large Whale Entanglement Response Network formed in 2002 to support response efforts and to learn more about sources and impacts of entanglements to humpback whales and other marine animals. The network partners with state and federal agencies, including the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Regional Office, the U.S. Coast Guard, private non-governmental organizations, fishermen, researchers, and other individuals.
     While public help is appreciated, "People who haven't been authorized should not try to help an entangled or otherwise injured whales," warns sanctuary staff.  Instead, maintain the required safe distance and call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840, or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 immediately. "Ocean users can play an important role, by reporting and providing information and images of the animal and threat. Prompt reporting is the best way to help a distressed humpback whale."
     If reporting a suspected approach violation, call NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964. Additional guidelines and safety tips can be found at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

A person of Native Hawaiian heritage and knowledge sought to become
an advisor to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine
Sanctuary. Photo by Nicklin/Minden Pictures
Photo from NOAA
HAWAIIAN ISLANDS HUMPBACK WHALE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY seeks to fill a primary seat on its advisory council with a person of Native Hawaiian ancestry and knowledge of the Kohola. The sanctuary is also accepting applications for a Maui County alternate and Molokaʻi Island primary and alternate. The council ensures public participation in sanctuary matters and provides advice to sanctuary management.
“The members of our advisory council represent an extremely important element of our community,” said Malia Chow, sanctuary superintendent. “Their input, experience and expertise assist sanctuary managers in making informed and timely decisions on how best to protect and conserve our important cultural and natural resources.”
   Candidates are selected based on expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying, community and professional affiliations, and views regarding protection and management of marine resources. Applicants chosen as primaries or alternates expect to serve a two-year term.

     Applications are due by Wednesday, Nov. 30. To receive an application kit or for further information, contact Kate Spidalieri via email at Kate.Spidalieri@noaa.gov; by phone at (240) 533-0679; or visit the sanctuary website at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/council/council_app_accepting.html
    Completed applications should be submitted to: NOAA Inouye Regional Center, NOS/HIHWNMS/Kate Spidalieri, 1845 Wasp Boulevard, Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.
The sanctuary is administered by a partnership of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and state Department of Land and Natural Resources. The sanctuary works to protect humpback whales through research, education, conservation and stewardship. See facebook.

EARLY VOTING, EVEN FOR THOSE STILL NOT REGISTERED is pau in Kaʻū but still available only today, Saturday, at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; West Hawai‘i Civic Center Community Room, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Waimea Community Center, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through noon tomorrow.
Election Day voting locations this coming Tuesday, Nov. 8, open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Cooper Center in Volcano at 19-4030 Wright Rd; Ka‘ū High School Cafeteria at 96-3150 Pikake St. - turn into the school grounds; Nā‘ālehu Elementary School Cafeteria at 95-5545 Hwy 11; Ocean View Community Center at 92-5545 Māmalahoa Hwy; and Miloli‘i Halāu. See ballots below

HAM RADIO OPERATORS POTLUCK picnic is this Sunday, Nov. 6 at  11 a.m. at Manuka Park. All American Radio Emergency Service members, anyone interested in learning how to operate ham radio and their families are invited. Call Dennis Smith, 989-3028.

PUʻU O LOKUANA hike this Sunday, Nov. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Kahuku Unit of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Free. Entrance mauka off Hwy 11 between South Point Road and Ocean View. See nps.gov/havo.  

WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL TEAM FROM U.H. HILO will provide a volleyball clinic at the new Kaʻū Gym on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p..m. The volleyball workshop is open to men and women and boys and girls of all ages. With no fee for participants, it is sponsored by the county Department of Parks and Recreation and Hawaiʻi Police Activities League and Kaʻū community policing officers. Marley Strand-Nicolaisen is a Kaʻū High alumni and Trojan volleyball champion who is a member of the Vulcan team, expected to assist with the workshop. For more information, call Nona Makuakane, Pahala Recreation Director at 854-7316 or officer Blaine Morishita at 936-7192.

Here are the General Election Ballots, with registration and early voting at places outside Ka`u and for General Election Day on Tuesday. See locations above.

See www.kaucalendar.com
See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html.


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