New & Noteworthy: Kuki`o Clean-up, Pacific Paradise, Marine Licenses

posted in: April 2018 | 0

Kuki‘o Clean-up: Before publishing our article in March on irrigation lines, sandbags, and other beach-armoring gear along the Big Island beach at Kuki‘o, we sought comment from the Kuki‘o Community Association, which owns the adjoining property. None was forthcoming.

Last month we did receive this from association manager Paola Pagan, who explained her tardy reply by stating her comments had to be reviewed “by several key personnel” before being forwarded to Environment Hawai‘i.

“Our staff visited the area and addressed the items you referenced below.

“Sandbags were in place to protect the [anchialine] ponds from the high surf conditions in December/January (sand bags have been re- moved as high surf conditions have subsided).

“Irrigation lines in the naupaka were old lines not being used and not connected to a water source. They were uncovered due to the high surf conditions and migrating sand (irrigation lines were removed).

“The only disintegrated sand bags and geo- textile liner found was on the Hualalai side of the public access beach (where the Hualalai outrigger canoes are stationed). Disintegrated sand bags and liner were removed.”

Pacific Paradise sinking.

Pacific Paradise Update: For nearly two months last year – from early October to early December – the 109-ton longline fishing vessel Pacific Paradise foundered on the reef in shallow water just off Waikiki.

The National Marine Fisheries Service recently published a feature article on the multi-agency effort involved in the vessel’s removal: “The Saga of Pacific Paradise,” by Joseph Bennington-Castro (available at www.fisheries. noaa.gov/feature-story/saga-pacific-paradise). Among other things, Bennington-Castro details the efforts to ensure the safety of monk seals that were in the area while the salvage operation was continuing.

According to a spokesman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, its Division of Aquatic Resources has surveyed the reef to determine the extent of damage to the reef and other natural resources. Any penalties associated with the grounding would have to be assessed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, although no proposal for fines or damages has been made by DAR to date.

Bryan Ho, who represents the owner of the Pacific Paradise, said that the private firms involved in the effort, including Cates Marine Services, Resolve Marine, PENCO, and American Marine Group, were paid by his client, TWOL, LLC. In addition, he expects that the Coast Guard will be invoicing TWOL “for time spent by their personnel and assets supporting/ monitoring pollution response efforts.”

Vessel Permits on Hold: The state Attorney General has advised the Department of Land and Natural Resources that a statute change is required if it wants to eventually start issuing commercial marine licenses (CML) to vessels, rather than just to individuals. Such a license would allow boat owners to avoid having to purchase individual after-the-fact CMLs for friends who may have tagged along on a fishing trip that later resulted in the sale of some of the catch. At least that was the rationale expressed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources when it voted last December to authorize the DLNR’s Division of Aquatic Resources to take to public hearings rules that would have established a com- mercial marine vessel license. As a condition of its authorization, however, the board wanted the Department of Attorney General to first review whether or not such a license would be allowed under state law.

Members of the public who were concerned that a vessel license would undercut the state’s ability to track foreign crew members of commercial longline vessels, which have come under scrutiny for possible human trafficking, had argued to the board that the current laws restrict the state to issuing CMLs to individuals. The AG’s later concurrence led to the introduction this legislative session of Senate Bill 2847 and House Bill 2425, which would have amended Hawai‘i Revised Statutes to include vessel as a subtype of CML. Both bills are effectively dead, however, having not been heard by the required committees in time.

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