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Seal Feeds on Scraps at Honokohau Harbor

May 14, 2015, 8:39 AM HST
* Updated May 14, 9:41 AM
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Honokohau Small Boat Harbor has a new frequent visitor, and it’s not a boater.

B-18 is his name, and Department of Land and Natural Resource officials say the endangered Hawaiian monk seal has been reportedly swimming in and around boats at the harbor for the past week.

DLNR officials claim the seal is feeding on fish scraps that have been thrown overboard, an act that is against the law.

The DLNR’s Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation is reminding the public that it is against the law to dispose of fish scraps in state waters.

“It would be a tragedy for this seal to be struck by a boat or propeller or to get caught up in netting or marine debris,” DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case said. “We don’t want seals to become habituated or conditioned to people. Seals that are fed, even unintentionally by discarded fish scraps, can quickly become ‘problem seals’ that associate people with food and seek out human interactions that are dangerous for seals and people. They are wild creatures and we want to keep them wild.”

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DOBOR staff at Honokohau are reminding users of the small boat harbor of state receptacles that are for the use of scraps and all other rubbish. Signs are being posted to remind the public to properly care for these items. Reminders are also being sent to boat owners to remind them to properly care for their scraps.

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“This is not the only place where this has happened and it is not the first time it’s happened. With fewer than 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left in the wild, it’s critical that everyone does their part to protect these creatures and show them our kokua,” said Case.

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Hawaiian Monk Seal, B-18. Photo credit: Julie Steelman.

Hawaiian Monk Seal, B-18. Photo credit: Julie Steelman.

Hawaiian Monk Seal, B-18. Photo credit: Julie Steelman.

Hawaiian Monk Seal, B-18. Photo credit: Julie Steelman.

Hawaiian Monk Seal, B-18. Photo credit: Julie Steelman.

Hawaiian Monk Seal, B-18. Photo credit: Julie Steelman.

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