Kaimana Beach, just under Diamond Head is an extraordinary environment. Enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, it is also home to several honu(green sea turtles). The turtles of this area share a narrow channel in the reef that extends to the beach making it a prime access point for water enthusiasts of varied interest—swimmers, snorkelers, paddlers and surfers. For the last couple of years, I have been photographing the turtles, especially three that live only a few hundred feet from the shoreline. I have affectionally have come to refer to them as Larry, Moe and Curly.
Recently while swimming at Kaimana, I discovered Curly, laying on the bottom of the sea bed. Upon closer inspection I found a fishing lurepierced through his fin and fishing line wrapped around his neck. Luckily with the help of a woman from Hawaii Marine Animal Response and several other swimmers, we removed the line and lure (the hooks were too deep to remove and will rust out over time).
The lure in Curly’s fin is the result of fishing from Kaimana Beach. Currently fishing in the Waikiki-Diamond Head Shoreline Fisheries Management Area is permitted in even-numbered years only. This regulation was created to protect the beach from overfishing. However, there are usually only ever a handful of fishermen and spear fishers operating from Kaimana, so over fishing is not the problem. The real problem is they are fishing in the exact area which serves as a regular habitat to the sea turtles.
In addition to being a habitat for green sea turtles, Kaimana Beach has a history of hosting Hawaiian monk seals. Two favorites, of only 1,100 to 1,200 in existence, are Rocky and Kaiwi who love to come and lay out on Kaimana Beach. Last summer Rocky gave birth to her eleventh pup on this stretch of beach. The pup, appropriately named Kaimana, was nursed, trained and weened right on the beach in full public view.
A bill to protect Kaimana Beach from fishing was introduced by Representative Bertrand Kobayashi in 2017 and was not moved forward. It will be reintroduced in the January 2019 session. To accomplish our mission it is imperative we obtain the necessary signatures of supporting local residents. We will also need testimony from persons injured by fishing tackle and those involved with efforts to rescue and protect the turtles, Hawaiian monk seals and other marine life threatened by fishing activities. With your help we can get the bill passed. Please click on this link to below to sign the petition in support of this bill. And if you have had experiences at the beach than would help the passing of the bill, please email me and we can organize for the hearing.
In Related News: I recently came across this related story about 300 sea turtles caught in an discarded fishing net. It is a disturbing story, but perhaps our local efforts can lead to something bigger to help support our precious oceans and sea life.
Honu Photos: I am always uplifted when I see a honu while out swimming. They seemed so unfazed by my presence. As long as you remain still and don’t chase them they will just treat you like one of the other sea creatures. As a protected species it is illegal to get too close or touch them, but have found them to be quite friendly and always up to pose for a photo or two. You can see some of honu photos and other life in Hawaii (both in and out of the water) in my Ohana Nui Life gallery.