Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, April 7, 2014

Adrian Boone shares his visit to the Philippines, including the Banaue Rice Terraces, at tomorrow's After Dark in the Park.
Photo from NPS
A PROTECT OPIHI RESOLUTION passed the state House of Representatives last Thursday and will soon be up for a vote in the state Senate. Championed by state Rep. Faye Hanohano, of Puna, who chairs the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs, it asks the state Department of Land & Natural Resources for a study. 
    House Concurrent Resolution 229 notes that “opihi comprises four species of saltwater Hawaiian limpets that are found nowhere else on Earth.” It states that “the popularity of opihi as a delicacy has led to statewide overharvesting and the decline of natural populations,” and that during “the past century, there was a ten-fold decline in the amount of opihi available in markets, and the average amount of opihi has further been halved in the past forty years.” It advises that “the key to increasing the sustainable harvest of opihi is protecting a portion of opihi populations so that they may reproduce and create the next generation.”
Different sizes of opihi species make establishing harvesting size limits difficult.
     Resolution 229 asks that the DLNR conduct an opihi management study on the replenishment of natural populations of all Hawaiian opihi species for all islands of the state, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It asks DLNR to recommend best management practices for each island area, with effective enforcement mechanisms for implementing the best management practices. The DLNR would “consult with the Aha Moku Advisory Committee and any other individual or entity that has expertise that is relevant to the study.” The study would be due by Dec. 19.
     Scientists from University of Hawai`i suggested a rotation kapu, letting opihi habitats rest for two years at a time. They said that size limits would not work since size among species vary, with the koele larger than the yellowfoot and blackfoot. Seasonal harvesting would be inappropriate they said, since it takes almost all year for opihi to mature and reproduce.
    Opihi are limpets. The yellowfoot and blackfoot grow in the surfline on rocky shores. The koele live in calmer, deeper waters. Opihi picking is considered the most dangerous job in Hawai`i, with pickers swept away by waves, injured and killed by surf pounding them into rocks or falling to their deaths from remote coastal hiking trails that lead to opihi picking sites. The high price and tradition, with opihi being one of the most popular delicacies at family lu`au, keep the pickers going. The least valued opihi was recently selling for more than $42 a pound in Honolulu markets, Chris Bird, of the University of Hawai`i Institute of Marine Biology, told lawmakers. He also described the opihi population on the Big Island as “at the tipping point of decline.” He said, “O`ahu is decimated.”
     Bird and other scientists estimated that over a century ago, more than 140,000 pounds of opihi were sold each year in Hawai`i. As of 2005, the number was down to 13,000 pounds per year.
      To weigh in on HCR229, go to capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Compared to farmed salmon, GMO salmon are larger. Photo from kcrw.com
POPULAR LU`AU FOOD LOMI SALMON may eventually have a GMO version. However, fast growing salmon, which would be the first genetically modified fish to be approved for human consumption by the FDA, is facing jittery investors and some federal pushback. According to an Associated Press story today, the Obama administration has stalled for more than four years on deciding whether to approve GMO salmon, and “opponents of the technology have taken advantage of increasing consumer concern about genetically modified foods and have urged several major retailers not to sell it. So far, two of the nation’s biggest grocers, Safeway and Kroger, have pledged to keep the salmon off their shelves if it is approved.” 
    Mary Clare Jalonick writes that “supporters of genetically engineered fish and meat say they expect Food and Drug Administration approval of the salmon and still hope to find a market for it. However, the retailers’ caution and lengthy regulatory delays have made investors skittish.”
    In its April edition, Consumer Reports writes that it expects an FDA ruling on genetically engineered salmon soon. Consumer Reports recommends labeling of all GMO foods and points out that Maine and Connecticut have passed the legislation.
      See consumerreports.org/cro/news/2014/04/why-we-need-to-label-gmo-foods/index.htm.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

RESOLUTIONS RECENTLY PASSED BY THE STATE SENATE include two addressing issues at the University of Hawai`i. 
      Senate Concurent Resolution 38 urges the Board of Regents not to raise student fees to balance the budget of the university’s Athletics Department or budget deficit of any other UH department.
      The resolution says that, if student fees are raised, the amount should be based on an objective criteria or an appropriate formula, “rather than an apparently arbitrary amount decided by the university. It also says that, if the university raises student fees to balance the budget of the Athletics Department or budget deficit of any other UH department, “once those budgets are balanced, the student fees should be reduced accordingly.”
      SCR128 requests that the university create a task force to develop a plan to increase the number of students in science, technology, engineering and math majors relevant to industry demands in Hawai`i.
      The task force would conduct a mapping exercise and report on current initiatives that impact STEM readiness for students, including initiatives that increase preparedness of Department of Education and UH students for STEM majors or careers, including the type of initiatives, source of funding, targeted student groups, numbers of students in the targeted student groups and proven impact.
      The task force would recommend solutions to increase the readiness of students to pursue STEM fields as well as explore and identify trends in workforce needs in various STEM fields in Hawai`i.
     The report task force’s findings, recommendations, overall plan and any proposed legislation would be due prior to the convening of next year’s legislative session.
      To see and testify on these and other resolutions, go to capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

TODAY IS THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER for Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc.’s 17th annual Rural Health Conference to be held this Friday, April 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Call 928-0101.

VOLUNTEERS CAN HELP FRIENDS of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park with a Forest Restoration Project Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. by planting native tree seedlings in the Mauna Loa section of the park. RSVP to 352-1402 or forest@fhvnp.org today.

Puerta Princesa Subterranean River National Park was one of the stops during
Adrian Boone's visit to the Philippines. Photo from wikipedia
AT TOMORROW’S AFTER DARK IN THE PARK, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Ranger Adrian Boone shares his visit to the Philippines last November when Typhoon Haiyan bore down on the island nation. His travels included several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the 2,000-year-old Banaue Rice Terraces and Puerta Princesa Subterranean River National Park. He explored the hanging coffins of Sagada, the limestone caves of Sumaguing, northern Luzon, Manila, the ancient Spanish city Vigan in Ilocos Sur and much more. 
      The free program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. $2 donations support future programs, and park entrance fees apply.

VENDOR BOOTHS ARE AVAILABLE FOR $10 at Kauaha`ao Congregational Church’s Fundraising Bazaar on Saturday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The church will offer laulau plate lunches, chili and rice, hot dogs, baked goods and more. Call Walter Wong Yuen at 928-8039 after 7 p.m.

KA`U HIGH SCHOOL BOYS VOLLEYBALL hosted the Kealakehe Waveriders on Friday, Apr. 4 at Ka`u High School Gym. The Junior Varsity team lost in three sets. Scores were 25-19, 7-25, 16-18. The Varsity team also lost in three sets. Scores were 26-28, 23-25, 23-25. Ka`u hosts the Kamehameha Warriors tomorrow at 6 p.m. 

ESTEVE SALMO CONTINUED HIS WINNING STREAK for Trojan’s track on Saturday, Apr. 5 in Kea`au. Salmo took first in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet, 2.5 inches. Andrew Garcia, also a Trojan, took second in the high jump, reaching 5 feet, 6 inches. Next meet for the Trojans is on Saturday, Apr. 12 at Konawaena at 9 a.m.


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