Back to



October - November 1999

Pacific Nations advance fishery agreements

Oceanit device protects harbors from alien species

Hawaii “raises bar” on oil spill prevention and response

Pier 38 Fishing Village under construction

Profile: Christine Woolaway Queen of Coastal Cleanup

Regulatory News



News Briefs: News from Matson, Sea-Land and HTB/YB4

Soundings: Shark-finning by Jim Cook







Pacific nations advance fishery agreements

Delegates from 28 Pacific Island states and Pacific Rim fishing nations met in Honolulu in September to continue the development of a fishery management arrangement for the highly migratory species of the central and western Pacific Ocean. It was the fifth such meeting of the Multilateral High-Level Conference (MHLC) process that began in 1994.
Impetus for MHLC came from the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, which called for international cooperation in the management of tunas and billfishes. A United Nations Implementing Agreement in 1995 further defined how coastal states and distant-water fishing nations are to cooperate in the conservation and management of fish stocks.
The group has set a deadline of June 2000 to finalize negotiations for a new commission to regulate fisheries in the region, the last unexploited and largest tuna fishery on the globe. When concluded, Hawaii and other U.S. Pacific islands will be part of the world’s largest fishery management arrangement.

Among the decisions made by the September Conference were:

  • Define the western and northern boundaries of the Convention by reference to the migratory range of the stocks
  • Provide for a northern subcommittee to advise the commission on the implementation and conservation management measures in respect of stocks occurring in the northern part of the proposed Convention area
  • Provide for the application of “internationally agreed standards and recommended practices and procedures” when applying the precautionary approach
  • Develop a procedure that identifies a number of key issues upon which consensus is required, with a four-fifths majority voting procedure for other issues
  • Make provision to allow the participation of non-parties as observers
  • Allow the commission a period of two years after entry into force to develop a boarding and inspection mechanism
  • Recognize the concerns and provide for possible measures that address the needs of developing states, as well as territories and possessions in the region

A number of issues remain for further discussion, including decision-making, position of fishing entities, participation by territories, financial arrangements and entry into force.
The next meeting of the Conference is scheduled for March 2000 at a yet to be determined location.








Oceanit device protects harbors from alien species

by Paula Gillingham Bender

Federal funding has been awarded to Oceanit Laboratories, Inc., a Hawaii-based engineering consulting and research company, to develop a device that destroys organisms in ship’s seawater.
Oceanit’s Shipboard Ultrasonic Ballast Water Organism Control System received $175,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The device makes the dangerous practice of deballasting a ship at sea unnecessary, because it kills potentially harmful species of sea life in the ballast water prior to a ship’s entering port.
Federal regulation of the discharge of ballast water from cargo ships entering all U.S. ports began July 1. Ships traveling international routes are requested to voluntarily exchange ship ballast at least 200 miles from U.S. destinations and to report the discharges to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard will continue conducting random inspections to determine how ship captains comply with the new regulation. Reports are filed by the Coast Guard with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center where studies of the introduction of non-indigenous species are underway. After the studies are completed, the Smithsonian will file a report with Congress. If during the next two and a half years the Coast Guard’s surveys find compliance to be weak, a mandatory program will be put in place.
Cargo ships can carry as much as 8 million gallons of water as ballast – potentially meaning that literally hundreds of species of phytoplankton, zooplankton, larval fish and invertebrates are sucked into the holds. Not all survive the trip. But for the few that do, the new port usually offers few natural predators and plenty of easy prey.
There is a considerable stability risk to ships that choose to discharge ballast while at sea, according to Robert Bourke, environmental scientist at Oceanit. “Insurers don’t like that.”
To assist the maritime industry with its ballast water issues, and armed with a Small Business Innovation Research Program Phase I award, Bourke and other Oceanit scientists developed its ultrasonic ballast blaster using new and innovative materials that produce an intense ultrasonic sound to kill ballast organisms as they pass through the pipe.
“The animals that pass through the pipe basically turn to mush,” Bourke said.
Phase II funding allows for the further development and testing of the design. Hawaii companies that have agreed to participate in Oceanit’s testing process include Matson Navigation Co., Sause Bros. Inc., and Young Brothers. Phase III assists in the commercialization of the technology. Oceanit’s goal is to sell the ballast blaster to commercial and military vessels around the world. The technology could also serve to eliminate the colonization of organisms from cooling water intake systems that service land-based electrical generators.
“[Shipping companies] weren’t really concerned about this before,” Bourke said. “But now, faced with the possibility of the Coast Guard mandating controls, they are interested.”
    Actually, Paul Londynsky, director of environmental affairs with Matson, begs to differ. Londynsky said Matson has a vested interest in ensuring the health and viability of the marine ecosystems of its markets: Hawaii, the Puget Sound and the entire California coast.
“To a company like Matson, which was the first shipping company to adopt a ‘zero-solid waste discharge’ program – meaning no garbage thrown overboard, ever – the idea that there is even the slightest possibility that one of our vessels could contribute to the introduction of alien marine life to these waters is abhorrent,” Londynsky said. “However, Matson has still adopted the most stringent policies requiring our vessels exchange ballast water at sea before pumping it out in any port.”

The present legislation facilitates the Smithsonian’s efforts to research the effects ballast water has in U.S. ports. Petty Officer Mark Himenez of the U.S. Coast Guard said the Hawaii station is searching two to three ships entering Hawaii’s harbors each week. The vessels include tankers, bulk carriers, container and general cargo vessels, fishing and research vessels and cruise ships. That’s in addition to the Coast Guard’s regular workload of normal vessel inspections. The Coast Guard is not without empathy for the ship captains who consider the risk of exchanging ballast at sea.
“It can be dangerous, but the stipulations in the regulations allow the discharges to be up to the master’s discretion,” Himenez said. “If conditions are not safe, that’s one of the things they take into consideration. At this time there are no fines.”
According to Scott Godwin, marine scientist at the Bishop Museum, the ecological effects of most species introduced in Hawaii’s waters are still unknown. Studies have only been underway in the Islands for the last three years. The story is different elsewhere.
In the Pacific Northwest, the introduction of a 3-inch green crab from Europe has caused $44 million in losses to the area’s aquaculture, fisheries and other industries. Green crabs do not appear to prey on the area’s oysters, but they have developed a taste for other mollusks, posing significant threat to the Dungeness crab industry.
Since the 1980s, zebra mussels have proliferated in the Great Lakes region and all the way down the Mississippi River. Zebra mussels grow on almost any structure, forming large clumps that clog water intake pipes and damage or impair structures. The removal of the mussels, and the replacement of destroyed pipes and piers, has cost Great Lake and Mississippi River communities hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The way the Coast Guard is handling this is very good. They’re taking it slow and not jumping the gun,” Godwin said. “Ballast water has become such a big problem. Ship designs have changed since the 1970s and vessels are now much larger and much faster and carrying more quantities of ballast water. The short trips allow for greater survival of the larvae of these animals.” 

Paula Gillingham Bender is a freelance writer living in Honolulu.









Hawaii’ ‘raises bar’ on oil spill prevention and response

by F. David Hoffman, Jr.

Mention the term “oil spill” to others and it’s likely to conjure up a range of emotions – fear, anger, dread.  Those who work for petroleum companies are no different from anyone else. They do not like to see oil spills any more than their neighbors who live next door, the children who enjoy surfing and bodyboarding at the beach, or the fishermen who depend upon the ocean for their livelihood.
Besides impacting the environment, there are other matters at stake for a company when an oil spill occurs: its reputation is on the line and it can cost a tremendous amount of money to clean up a spill.  Clearly, keeping Hawaii a paradise is important for all who work on Hawaii’s waterfront.
By working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and other government agencies, every reasonable precaution is taken to prevent oil spills from happening. For example, in the past, tankers from the U.S. West Coast calling in Honolulu traveled through the Kaiwi Channel between Oahu and Molokai.  However, as a voluntary initiative, since 1993, crude oil tankers have been directed to make deliveries to the Islands along a safer route, traveling between Kauai and Oahu where there are wider shipping lanes, less ship traffic and a reduced risk of accidents. 

Coordinated response

If a spill occurs at an offshore mooring, near a pier, or elsewhere in Hawaiian waters, petroleum companies’ own response teams can combine forces with organizations right here in the Islands to tackle it.  A contingency plan for Hawaii has been developed and is regularly updated with input from Hawaii’s petroleum companies, the U.S. Coast Guard, oil spill response organizations, environmental groups and government agencies. Regular training sessions are conducted throughout the year, with input and feedback from the U.S. Coast Guard, the state Department of Health and the oil spill response community.
The Clean Islands Council is one of two not-for-profit oil spill response organizations in the state. It provides immediate “first response” equipment for spills throughout the Islands.  In Honolulu, the Clean Islands Council’s 130-foot Clean Islands oil spill response vessel is fully equipped with floating protective barriers to contain oil in the water and skimmers to clean up the oil as well as storage for recovered oil.  Pre-staged equipment also is ready for action at each of the state’s other commercial harbors.
With equipment designed for major spills, the nationally based Marine Spill Response Corporation (MSRC) has the largest dedicated oil spill response vessel in Hawaii.  The 208-foot Hawaii Responder has a support boat, helicopter landing pad, and a variety of oil containment and recovery equipment.  In Hawaii, MSRC also has a barge with the capacity to store 40,000 barrels of recovered oil and water.      
Both the Clean Islands Council and the Marine Spill Response Corporation have crews positioned in Honolulu and are ready for response on short notice.  This exceeds the requirements of the both the Coast Guard and the Oil Spill Pollution Act of 1990.  Both organizations are housed at the Hawaii Oil Spill Response Center on Sand Island, which serves as the command and spill management center for training and actual oil spill events.
This high-tech command center is equipped with communications equipment (38 phone lines, 9 fax lines and state-of-the art computer capabilities, for example), shoreline maps and other resources that allow the command team to quickly assess the situation and communicate a plan of action to response team members on the front line and in the air.

New Weapon for Fighting Oil Spills

The goal of any oil spill response effort is to contain the spilled oil and remove it from the ocean as quickly as possible before it impacts shorelines.  And now, Hawaii has another powerful weapon in its arsenal to fight oil spills. 
The State of Hawaii purchased a new $1.3 million oil dispersant system that arrived in Hawaii on August 31. Dispersants sprayed over an oil slick help to chemically break the oil into tiny droplets to accelerate the natural biodegradation process.
The new air deployable dispersant system, or ADDS pack, is a major step in dispersant application. Only two other states in the country, Alaska and Florida, have acquired this state-of-the-art system. It consists of a pre-loaded 5,000-gallon tank of dispersant  that is carried aboard a U.S. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft.  The tank is equipped with pumps and spray arms, which can apply a specific amount of dispersant on the spilled oil. Altogether, the state owns 30,000 gallons of the chemical, enough for six C-130 sorties. The Clean Islands Council has another 7,500 gallons available.
“This is a new and serious arrow we can pull out of the quiver to attack spills,” says Kim Beasley, Clean Islands Council manager. “The dispersant system is a major breakthrough in Hawaii’s oil spill response capabilities.”
    This dispersant system reflects the high level of cooperation among industry, government and the response organizations to protect Hawaii’s shorelines and marine environment. Acquiring it was the result of a unique team effort not only among government representatives, but also among the oil companies such as Tesoro Hawaii, Chevron and other Clean Islands Council members.
The State of Hawaii Department of Health, Hazard Evaluation and Response Branch, purchased the new system and a supply of dispersant through an allocation from the Environmental Response Revolving Fund.  Contributions to the fund are received from petroleum product distributors, which are assessed five-cents for every barrel of liquid petroleum product they sell to retail dealers or end users.  The U.S. Coast Guard has agreed to transport and deploy the dispersant system, and the Clean Islands Council will store and maintain the system and provide any necessary training.
“Being able to use chemical dispersants will significantly improve the state’s oil spill response capability for combating oil spills in the Hawaiian Northwest Island Chain and other locations distant from Honolulu,” said Curtis Martin, emergency response coordinator with the state Department of Health.  “It is critical that this capability exist immediately after an oil spill occurs to be most effective in keeping the oil from reaching Hawaii’s beaches.”
The ADDS pack system is one of a number of weapons in Hawaii’s oil spill response arsenal. Mechanical recovery uses containment barriers to corral the oil and skimmers that work like vacuum cleaners to suck the oil into holding tanks.  Another method is to burn the spill oil.  This process is called in-situ burning which means to burn the oil in place.  As part of its equipment, the Marine Spill Response Corporation has 500 feet of fire protective boom or containment barrier specifically designed for in-situ burning. 

David Hoffman is manager of environmental affairs and emergency preparedness for Tesoro Hawaii Corporation.

Hawaii Oil Spill Statistics

In 1998, the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Office Honolulu released a report of oil spill statistics in Hawaii between 1993 and 1996.
During those four years, 1,261 oil spills were reported resulting in 92,180 gallons spilled. The Coast Guard believes many small spills go unreported.
The report analyzed spill sources and causes island-by-island as an aide for the Hawaii maritime community in developing operational procedures and making risk management decisions. The data also provide a baseline for future measurement.
Here is a summary of the report’s conclusions.
Of more than 1,200 oil spills investigated, only 446 (38%) originated from known maritime sources. Fortunately, the other “mystery spills” accounted for only 3% of the volume spilled.

Facility spills accounted for only 11% of the spills, but 69% of the volume spilled. Most occurred at facilities beyond the Coast Guard jurisdiction (e.g. the Waiau Stream pipeline spill of 39,000 gallons in 1996) and were caused by failure of a pipeline or hose. Vessels accounted for 28% of the spill volume.
Shipboard and facility oil transfers (internal, refueling, cargo) are the highest risk operation in Hawaii, accounting for the most spills and the highest percentage of total volume spilled. Human error was responsible for 73% of these spills and equipment error, 25%.
Vessels accounted for 86% of the oil spilled from maritime sources. U.S. fishing vessels lead all other vessel types in both numbers of spills and amount spilled. Small passenger vessels are the next highest offenders in Hawaii.








Pier 38 Fishing Village under construction

by Mele Pochereva

With pier improvements underway, landside improvements about to begin, and construction of a multi-user building going out to bid in October, the state’s Pier 38 Domestic Fishing Village at Honolulu Harbor is becoming reality. Approximately $13.7 million in state Department of Transportation special funds will be spent on the 16.5-acre project, which will consolidate many of the commercial fishing activities now scattered from Kewalo Basin to Honolulu Harbor.
Pier 38 improvements, including a 500-foot-long loading/unloading dock for fishing vessels, are expected to be completed by May, 2000. Healy Tibbits is the contractor for this $6.4 million project.
Goodfellow Brothers Inc. was recently awarded a $4 million contract for subdivision improvements which include clearing and grading the site and installation of utilities and roadways. The project is expected to begin this October and take a year to complete.
The DOT is now reviewing plans for a multi-user building that will house seafood and fresh fish processors, wholesalers and retailers and related suppliers and services. The agency will advertise the construction project in October. It hopes to have the building completed by September 2000. Interior build-out of the 32,000 square feet of leasable space will be completed by individual tenants.
No tenants have been signed yet, says DOT Property Manager Derrick Lining, however prospects include small seafood businesses on the Ewa side of Kewalo Basin that will be displaced by the state’s re-development plans for the area. Lining says they hope to have about eight tenants in the multi-user building.
He expects United Fishing Agency and Pacific Ocean Producers to come in with their own stand-alone buildings.
Jim Cook, president of Pacific Ocean Producers, confirmed that his company is in negotiations with the DOT and plans to move most of its operations to the new fishing village. This includes a showroom, warehousing and offices for domestic and foreign sales. The company’s existing Pier 35 facility will be converted to cold storage for the fishing industry.
Cook says the state has had some difficulties in leasing the project because of such issues as ground pollution, lease rent and common area fees.  He added, “This is a time of dropping lease rents, so [prospective tenant] companies like Tropic Fish and Vegetable and Fishland Market have gone elsewhere.”
Nonetheless, companies like Pacific Ocean Producers see the fishing village as a way to expand Hawaii’s capacity to handle transshipment of seafood and to open new opportunities to market fish in the United States.










Christine Woolaway: Queen of Coastal Cleanup

by Priscilla Pérez Billig

Most people consider trash a necessary nuisance. But when it litters Hawaii beaches, chokes mountain streams and pollutes coastal waters, it becomes the scourge known as marine debris, a man-made menace that endangers fish and wildlife, smothers coral reefs, and generally wreaks havoc on Hawaii’s fragile marine ecosystems.
For Christine Woolaway, Hawaii Sea Grant’s coastal recreation and tourism extension agent, marine debris is a source of inspiration. Its removal from Hawaii’s environment is at the heart of Woolaway’s efforts to ensure that residents and visitors have quality coastal experiences – a management balancing act that includes promoting economic development, responsible stewardship of recreational resources, and reduction of loss of life and property related to ocean recreation.
During her years of public service with Sea Grant, Woolaway helped develop the Second International Marine Debris Conference in 1989. From it emerged Sea Grant’s Marine Debris Resource Program which brought marine debris education to schools and community groups throughout Hawaii. Woolaway also has supported environmental awareness efforts at Hawaii’s annual Great Keiki Fest, as well as the Fishermen’s Festival.
Her boundless energy has resulted in several multi-agency partnerships throughout Hawaii. Instrumental in organizing Sea Grant’s boating safety workshops, Woolaway coordinated the publication of the Hawaii Boaters Hurricane Safety Manual and its accompanying emergency card with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR). Partnering with the state Department of Health and DOBOR, she produced Managing Boat Wastes: A Guide for Hawaii Boaters.
With Woolaway’s urging, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Marine Conservation chose Hawaii for inclusion in its Model Communities Program. Supported by the American Plastics Council, the Coca-Cola Company and Royal Caribbean International, the program helps local communities identify sources and solutions to common marine debris problems. Its latest pilot project was the recent “Points for Pounds” Marine Bounty Program in which local boaters and fishermen reported sightings of derelict fishing nets, ropes and gear. The pilot project, which will be extended, yielded more than 6,000 pounds of illegally discarded or derelict fishing gear in August.
A longtime resident of Windward Oahu, Woolaway served as co-coordinator of a community-based volunteer water quality monitoring pilot project which integrated with local high school science instruction for Kalaheo High School students. In collaboration with the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce and the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, Woolaway coordinates the 8 Bells Symposia which present current coastal management issues to the Honolulu waterfront community.
In March Woolaway received a Department of Parks and Recreation certificate of recognition from Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris for her contribution to the “VIP” Volunteers in Parks Program for “enriching and upgrading the quality of life in our community,” an effort which targeted coastal cleanups in Kahuku.
Most notably, Woolaway brought together for the first time representatives from the university, city and county, state, and federal governments, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and private industry to pool substantial resources to clean up damaging derelict fishing nets from coral reefs around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The concerted effort saved an estimated $920,000 in operational costs for removing six tons of marine debris from this fisheries resource which also serves as a critical habitat for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, the most endangered marine mammal in America today.
For these efforts, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) honored Woolaway last December with the Marine Environmental Stewardship Award for its Marine Debris Removal Project. In April, Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye awarded Woolaway with Vice President Al Gore’s Hammer Award in recognition of significant efforts at reinventing government by partnering with private industry, city and county, state and federal agencies, civic organizations and academia, while maximizing resources and reducing cost.
Having gained public support, the partnership is now central to the continuing efforts to protect Hawaii’s fragile coral reef ecosystem. Committed to this endeavor, the Honolulu Laboratory of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is presently working in partnership to coordinate the “International Workshop on Derelict Fishing Gear, Vessels and Operational Waste: Sources, Impacts, Mitigation and Prevention” scheduled for June 25-30, 2000 on Oahu.
Currently, Woolaway serves as Secretary and Treasurer of the Hawaii Operational Safety Team (H.O.S.T.) which promotes stewardship of Hawaii’s marine ecosystems and enhances the safe and pollution-free use of Hawaii’s waters through proactive prevention while balancing the needs of Hawaii’s ocean users. Woolaway is also the co-coordinator with the state’s Coastal Zone Management program for the annual island-wide Get the Drift and Bag It! campaign, Hawaii’s contribution to the International Coastal Cleanup. Last year’s Hawaii effort attracted 4,279 volunteers who collected 227,759 pounds of debris from land and underwater, covering a total distance of 153 miles.
In July, Hawaii Sea Grant Director Chuck Helsley presented Woolaway with the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii Employee Recognition Award for 15 Years of Service. 
While she now splits her time between Sea Grant commitments and a new half-time position with NMFS’s Marine Debris Program, her many partners continue to recognize Woolaway for her tireless efforts on behalf the ocean environment, the coastal community and the people of Hawaii. 

Priscilla Billig is the communications director for the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program.


The Dirty Dozen

Hawaii Sea Grant’s 1998 “Get the Drift and Bag It” coastal cleanup effort netted 227,759 pounds of debris. Here’s the “Dirty Dozen” of offending debris items:

Cigarette butts     53,892
Plastic pieces     19,022
Glass pieces     17,222
Beverage bottles     10,665
Paper pieces     9,079
Plastic food bags, wrappers     8,849
Other plastic items     8,591
Foamed plastic pieces     8,462
Beverage cans     7,980
Plastic caps, lids     7,613
Plastic beverage bottles    6,122
Metal bottle caps     5,221








Regulatory News

Coast Guard seeks input on revision of hazmat regs

The Coast Guard is seeking comment on the type and scope of any revisions to the regulations concerning barges carrying bulk liquid hazardous material. The outdated regulations do not include current safety issues, technology standards and industry practices, and the Coast Guard needs information to help identify potential regulatory revisions.
    Comments will be accepted for the next several months. They should be forwarded to the Docket Management Facility, (USCG1999-5117), U.S. Department of Transportation, Room PL-401, 400 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20590-0001 or filed through the website at
For questions on submitting material, call Dorothy Walker, Chief, Dockets, at DOT, (202) 366-9329.

Life raft safety alert

USCG Marine Safety Office Honolulu issued notification of possible improper servicing of Coast Guard approved life rafts by the now defunct Life Support Systems of Hawaii, Inc. The Coast Guard has evidence that unqualified service technicians at the company may have improperly packed life rafts between May 1997 and April 1999.  Incorrectly packed life rafts may not inflate properly.
Vessels that have life rafts last serviced by LSSH should take them to be re-serviced by an approved life raft servicing facility as soon as possible. MSO Honolulu requests that any irregularities with life rafts be reported to the Honolulu office, (808)522-8253.













Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., parent company of Matson Navigation Company, named Charles M. Stockholm non-executive chairman of the board, succeeding R.J. Pfeiffer who became chairman emeritus. Stockholm also was named chairman of the board of Matson Navigation. W. Allen Doane continues as president and CEO of A&B. Stockholm has served as a director of A&B and its wholly-owned subsidiaries since 1972, and as chairman of its compensation committee since 1981. He also is a managing director of Trust Company of the West, responsible for its international marketing and client relations and serving on the boards of several of its foreign subsidiaries.
Trilogy Excursions has appointed Capt. Chris Walsh as its new operations general manager. Roger Gildersleeve will head the sailing company’s new research and development division. Walsh has been with Trilogy for almost 20 years, most recently as its senior captain. Gildersleeve was formerly the company’s general manager.
William D. Nickson, Hawaii district manager of Transmarine Navigation Corporation is being transferred to Houston to assume the newly created position of regional general manger of U.S. Gulf, Florida, and East Coast. Kevin Kinerney, Hawaii operations manager, has been promoted to the Hawaii district manager position. He has been with Transmarine for seven years and has more than 10 years experience in the shipping industry in Hawaii. 







News Briefs

Matson containership fleet certified
Matson Navigation Company’s active containership fleet has been officially certified under the provisions of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code. The ISM Code is an internationally mandated code for the safe operation of vessels and the prevention of pollution to the ocean environment.
ISM certification is a two-part process, requiring companies to qualify for a Document of Compliance (DOC) for its shoreside headquarters office and Safety Management Certificates (SMS) for each of its active vessels. Matson received its DOC in 1998, as well as an SMS for the bulk carrier ITB Moku Pahu. The recent certification of the company’s containership fleet completes Matson’s certification process, several years ahead of the internationally mandated deadline of 2002 for containerships.

HTB/YB sale pending approvals
Hawaiian Tug & Barge Corp. and Young Brothers Ltd. hope by the end of October to finalize the sale of the two companies to Saltchuk Resources of Seattle, Wash., according to HTB and Young Brothers President Glenn Hong.
Saltchuk announced in August that it had signed a definitive agreement to purchase all of Young Brothers and selected assets of Hawaiian Tug & Barge from Hawaiian Electric Industries. Saltchuk is a holding company whose subsidiaries and related companies provide liner services to Alaska and Puerto Rico, and tug and barge services on the West Coast, Alaska and the in Gulf of Mexico. The company was performing a due diligence review in September, and several government approvals were still pending, including approvals from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission and the federal Maritime Administration (MARAD).
The majority of HTB and YB’s 350 employees will not be affected by the sale, and the companies’ names, phone numbers and basic structure will remain the same, according to Hong.

Sea-Land sells international service
Hawaii and Guam will be two of four areas to benefit from Sea-Land Service’s recent sale of its international business to the Danish company, Maersk. The company operates 16 vessels and 27,000 containers between the continental United States and Alaska, Guam, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
John L. Sutherland, vice president and general manager of Sea-Land’s Hawaii service, said the sale “marks another milestone in Sea-Land’s long, progressive history – a point at which we focus our energy exclusively on U.S.-domestic trade to enhance our service and competitive position.”
The “new” Sea-Land will remain headquartered in Charlotte, NC.

Valley Isle Marine Center moves
Valley Isle Marine Center has moved its retail store and new boat sales yard to the corner of Market and Wells streets in Wailuku. The company’s service center, used boat yard and boat storage area will remain at the current 500 Waiale Road location, just a few minutes from the retail outlet. Major lines carried by Valley Isle Marine include Bayliner, Shamrock, Zodiac, Hobie Cat and Ocean Kayak. The company also will triple the size of its parts department.

Foundation to support marine programs
Pacific Marine Life Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to protecting and preserving earth’s fragile ecosystems, is funding $65,000 in research, conservation and public education projects during the current year.

The funding includes a $30,000 contribution to help underwrite the Hawaii Wildlife Fund’s effort to save Hawaiian monk seal populations at Midway Island, according to PMLF president Tim Guard. It will be used to support two full-time recovery positions at Midway, including disentangling the seals from deadly debris and netting.

Besides the Hawaii Wildlife Fund’s species-saving intervention at Midway, PMLF is again donating $20,000 to support the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology’s continuing graduate level research and is underwriting a series of teacher symposiums and student programs in the classrooms of the Big Island.

Founded by marine biologists, Drs. Rae Stone and Jay Sweeney, Pacific Marine Life Foundation is today a coalition of scientists, businessmen, educators and environmentalists seeking to solve ocean preservation problems throughout the Pacific.

Several categories of membership are available for individuals and organizations wishing to support PMLF’s work, starting at $25 per year.  For further information, write to the Pacific Marine Life Foundation, P.O. Box 210, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96810 or call Tim Guard at (808) 524-3255.








Shark-finning: a reality check

by Jim Cook

Despite scientific data to the contrary, the primary species of shark caught by Hawaii-based fishers is being portrayed as slow maturing, low producing, cruelly finned while alive and near extinction.

It’s time for a reality check.  The blue shark matures in four to six years and has an average of 20 to 40 (and as many as 135) pups per litter. National Marine Fisheries Service observers have documented that 98 percent of the blue sharks caught by Hawaii fishers are killed before processing, in ways similar to the harvesting of other fish species. Data collected by service scientists for nearly a decade and by Japanese scientists the past 14 years indicate that the blue shark population in the Pacific is healthy.

Granted, there are some coastal sharks that are slow maturing and low producing, and in some areas, such as the East Coast, certain shark species are being overfished. But let’s not use facts about East Coast mako to discuss Pacific blue sharks. And, unless we want to limit recreational and charter-boat take of yellowfin tuna to a three-fish bag limit, let’s not wholeheartedly adopt regulations for Hawaii’s fishery just because they have done it for the East and Gulf Coast fishery.

The bottom line is fishers go to sea for fish and bring fish to land for money. About 1993, the market for shark fins became lucrative, so Hawaii fishers began to land shark fins. Once markets are developed in Hawaii for the meat, skin, teeth, jaws, cartilage and liver of blue sharks, the fishers will land those parts as well.

Two firms on Maui hope to use blue sharks to produce smoked meat and a potential cancer-fighting dietary supplement. By supporting such a venture through needed research and development funds, the state could address the shark issue in a positive manner and potentially boost Hawaii’s economy as well.

The alternative is to rely on regulations to stop shark finning. Such regulations, if they were to seriously and fairly address the issue, could cost the state $65 million a year in revenue and would require the resources and energies of state and federal enforcement officers with already demanding schedules.

The regulations should apply not only to the 400 crew members in the Hawaii longline fishery, but also to ika-shibi hand line and other fishers who are known to practice finning.

To be consistent with such regulations, shark fins transshipped from foreign vessels would have to be prohibited, a regulation that could potentially cause these vessels to bypass Honolulu as a refueling and reprovisioning port.

To be further consistent, the importing of shark fins for domestic and foreign suppliers would be prohibited – in other words, no shark-fin soup, even if a 4,000-year-old culture of a prominent section of Hawaii’s populace and its visitors esteem it as important.

Regulations could make Hawaii a shark-fin-free zone, but they would only superficially address the shark-finning issue. The shark fins caught by Hawaii-based fishers account for only one percent of the shark fins on the world market. The U.N. International Plan of Action and the impending U.S. Plan of Action for the Management and Conservation of Sharks, which is to be developed by 2001, both propose the utilization of sharks.

Conforming to these plans and timeline, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council is examining options to amend the fishery management plan that regulates pelagic shark species in the exclusive economic zone (generally 3 to 200 miles offshore) of Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the remote U.S. Pacific islands. 

Jim Cook is chairman of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council.

Hawaii Ocean Industry provides this space as a forum to express viewpoints on Hawaii’s ocean industry.




© 2002 Hawaii Ocean Industry