Thursday, August 21, 2008

Superferry Task Force - Maui Being Plundered

Reposted from the Save Kahului Harbor web site:
Superferry Task Force - Maui Being Plundered

Written by Irene Bowie to the Superferry Oversight Task Force
Executive Director/Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Inc.
Superferry Oversight Task Force meeting, Honolulu, August 20, 2008

Thank you for taking the time to hear my comments today. It has been very interesting to sit through this OTF session and the one thought that comes to mind as I listen to the information shared today is the travesty that ACT 2 is. Hawaii’s environmental law states that an environmental assessment be performed prior to operations and as we can see, if this law had been followed many of the issues you’re discussing today would have been dealt with in advance.

Issues such as an undercarriage pressure-wash system, which now seems difficult, would have been required and some type of system would have been created.

Listening to Admiral Fargo state that night vision goggles, radar, and “bow-mounted cameras” are currently in the research and development stage is not acceptable. I stood before this Task Force in February of this year and told you that the technology was not adequate at this time yet HSF continued to state through last year’s whale season that those technologies would ensure safety for humpbacks during evening transits. Now, with two months before the first whales begin arriving in Hawaiian waters, Admiral Fargo says it will take more time… again, this is not acceptable in regards to an endangered and federally protected species. The only mitigation for this issue is reduced speeds, down to 10k, when traveling after dark.

And lastly, to hear DOCARE’s report on inspections and findings, I am discouraged by the number of natural resources being taken from Maui on a regular basis. To have over 400 lbs. of reef fish taken from Maui waters in a one month period is astounding; Maui fishermen are currently working to educate our community on the need to fish for invasive species rather than native species so that our reefs have a chance to become healthy again. Fish such as uhu are important not only for the health of the reef but also in the creation of sand for our disappearing beaches. The people of Maui treasure our cultural and natural resources and greater effort must be made to stop this plunder. Forty nine pounds of opihi in one month and another 75 lbs. the following month; over 250 lbs. of limu in a month; how long will these natural resources remain for our community and what studies have been done to examine this situation?

Mr. Garibaldi made much of the customer survey taken this summer; I’m sure the people who are passengers are happy with HSF, that’s why they’re onboard. However, this does nothing to repair the divisiveness in our community over the arrival of HSF. Mr. Garibaldi and other HSF staff stated many times that outreach efforts would be made to the Maui community yet nothing has come of it and no efforts have been made.

Today I ask the OTF to please consider the following 5 items:

1) We request a report on the total cost to Hawaii taxpayers for:
---a) Inspections/costs for Dept. of Ag and DOCARE staffing
---b) DOT lawsuits and appeals
---c) Oversight Task Force costs, i.e., inter-island transportation, etc.
---d) Preparation for Environmental Impact Statement
---e) Barges/tugs to assist HSF
---f) Any other costs incurred
--We ask that this information be put into a document that is released to the public.

2) We would like to know what plan is in place after December 2008 when the Oversight Task Force concludes. What is in place for inspections on the Big Island when service begins in 2009? Will DOCARE and Dept. of Ag be involved? We suggest a user fee be added to HSF ticket price to provide for needed DOCARE and Dept. of Ag staffing.

3) An update on Hawaii Superferry’s incidental take permit process and whale avoidance plan for Winter/08-09. Will the HSF’s “whale season” be abbreviated as it was last year or run concurrent with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary’s accepted season?

4) We strongly request that DOCARE continue regular inspections at Kahului Harbor until December of 2008 rather than moving to random inspections with HSF staff taking over the process. DOCARE’s regular reports are the only comprehensive assessment of items being transported by this new form of inter-island transportation. We need continued information to make educated decisions on procedures needed, not only for Maui, but also for the Big Island as the 2nd vessel comes on-line in 2009.

5) We ask for a more fair distribution of the remaining OTF meetings between Oahu and Maui as many members of the Maui community have comments but are unable to attend off-island meetings.

Thank you for your time today in allowing me to speak.

Masako said...

Masako Cordray Westcott
Comments to the Hawaii Superferry Task Force August 20, 2008

Regarding the movement of the Little Fire Ant on Hawaii Superferry.

After speaking to Neil Reimer of the Hawaii Dept of Agriculture and reviewing A PLAN FOR PREVENTION OF ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW ANT SPECIES IN HAWAII, WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE RED IMPORTED FIRE ANT (Solenopsis invicta) AND LITTLE FIRE ANT (Wasmannia auropunctata) that he provided, I would like to offer the following comments.

The Hawaii Ant Plan (HAP) is a product of the Hawaii Ant Group (HAG) whose members include government, university, and NGO people with expertise in invasive ant species in Hawaii. The HAP acknowledges the serious nature of the Little Fire Ant (LFA) calling it “one of the world’s 100 worst invasives and a major cause of native species extinctions, especially in Hawaii, where the native biota evolved in the absence of ant species.

Pertinent to our concerns about the Hawaii Superferry (HSF) is the finding from New Zealand (Harris et al 2005) that air passengers from infested islands are a high-risk pathway for LFA introduction. Furthermore, the HAG recognizes that this is an unaddressed and likely high-risk pathway in Hawaii. Clearly, the addition of personal cars, personal goods, equipment, tools and lumber to the already high-risk passenger pathway increases the danger.

Some of the minimal prevention measures recommended by the HAG include:

The identification of high-risk pathways.

The development of an inspection program and regulation of goods being shipped off infested islands.

The establishment of rigorous interisland quarantine for LFA.

The inspection and treatment of non-plant high-risk commodities.

Ensuring that qualified inspection teams with expertise in ant detection through specialized training and armed with the latest technology are at all ports.

The LFA is acknowledged as a catastrophic introduction. Passengers are recognized as a high-risk pathway. Both plant and non-plant cargo is considered high-risk.

The HSF Task Force is mandated to examine the impacts of HSF including the movement of invasive species between the islands. I once again call on this body to establish a study group of LFA experts to establish protocols for the HSF to prevent the spread of this environmental, economic and human health threat. August 21, 2008

Reposting from Karen Chun

Aloha, Brad

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