Public Testimony

Providing formal, public testimony is an important part of Pacific Whale Foundation's advocacy work. Testimony is submitted on a variety of ocean related issues, both locally in Hawai'i and around the world.

Support: Proposed Regulations for Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

In 2016, NOAA/NMFS published a proposed rule to prohibit swimming-with and approaching Hawaiian spinner dolphins within 50 yards. Spinner dolphins spend the daytime resting in bays and nearshore areas after feeding offshore at night. Disruption of the resting behavior can impact the overall fitness of spinner dolphins and their ability to forage. The proposed regulations align with our 'Be Dolphin Wise' set of best practices for tour operations, and we support the proposed rule.

Oppose: Petition to Remove North Pacific Humpback Whale from Endangered Species List

Pacific Whale Foundation acknowledges that the best available science indicates that the number of humpback whales has increased in the North Pacific. However, we urge the NOAA to assume the precautionary principle when addressing this issue, and do not believe that delisting is warranted at this time. It is likely that pre-exploitation levels of North Pacific humpbacks numbered around 100,000. To achieve the state recovery goal of 60% carrying capacity would thus require the current population to number 60,000 individuals – three times the current population estimate.

Press Release: Maui County Council Passes Tobacco-Free Beaches and Parks Bill

On Tuesday, April 22, 2014 (Earth Day!), the Maui County Council voted unanimously in support of the Tobacco-Free Beaches and Parks bill. The day was historic for environmental and public health organizations on Maui, who are looking forward to cleaner cleaner beaches, waves and coastlines for Maui County. The success of the bill hinges on education and outreach, and will rely heavily on community-based enforcement.

Support: Prohibiting Tobacco Use and Tobacco Products in Maui County Parks (final reading) 4/22/2014

Cigarette butts are the number one most littered item in the world. Littered cigarette butts are toxic and pose a hazard for marine life, coastal communities and the public. Both O'ahu and Hawai'i island have already implemented some form of tobacco-free beaches. Pacific Whale Foundation has been raising awareness about cigarette butt litter for nearly a decade, and we are ready to see Maui County take the next step towards solving an incredibly pervasive and chronic environmental issue. Learn more about PWF's Butt-Free Beaches campaign.

Support: Proposed Amendment to the Endangered Species Act Listing of the Southern Resident Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment (National Marine Fisheries Service) 3/25/2014

In the 1970's, killer whales (orcas) from the Northwest Pacific were rounded up by wranglers, herded into pens and then sold into captivity. "Lolita", a female orca, was one of seven orcas selected for captivity, and was eventually sent to the Miami Seaquarium where she has remained for the past 40 years. Lolita is a member of the Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) distinct population segment, a population that was listed as "Endangered"; on the U.S. Endangered Species List in 2005. She is the sole member of the SRKW population that remains in captivity, but has yet to be included as under the endangered listing because of her captive status. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is currently reviewing a petition that seeks to amend the Endangered Species Act so as to recognize Lolita under the Endangered status. Recognition under the Endangered Species Act could also increase the likelihood of Lolita's eventual release from captivity.

Support: Prohibiting Tobacco Use and Tobacco Products in County Parks (Maui County) 3/14/2014

Cigarette butts are the number one most littered item in the world, and are the most commonly found items on road sides, beaches, parks and stream beds. Cigarette butts are comprised of 165 toxic chemicals that leach into waterways within one hour of contact with the water. The sheer volume of cigarette butts that are littered in the environment pose a hazard for marine life, coastal communities and the public. Both O'ahu and Hawai'i island have already implemented some form of tobacco-free beaches. Pacific Whale Foundation has been raising awareness about cigarette butt litter for nearly a decade, and we are ready to see Maui County take the next step towards solving an incredibly pervasive and chronic environmental issue. Learn more about PWF's Butt-Free Beaches campaign.

Support: Proposed rule updates to the Maui/Lana'i fishing regulations 12/6/2013

Healthy fish populations are essential to maintaining healthy coral reef ecosystems. While a number of factors contribute to declines in fish populations, overfishing (removing fish from the environment at a rate faster than the fish can repopulate) is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. The Department of Land and Natural Resources has been working extensively to reformulate the current fishing regulations, and to make these regulations species specific. The proposed regulations are a combination of minimum and maximum size limits, catch limits and open/closed seasons. PWF supports the regulations because they are comprehensive, species specific and rely on best available science with regards to the biology and life history of reef fish.

Opposed: Removing the North Pacific Humpback Whale population from the Endangered Species List 10/28/13

In April 2013, the Hawai'i Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition, Inc. petitioned the Federal government to re-classify the North Pacific population of humpback whale as a Distinct Population Segment, and then to remove this Distinct Population Segment from the Endangered Species List. Pacific Whale Foundation feels that removal of this species from the endangered species list is premature and unwarranted. The petition for removal does not adequately acknowledge the complexity of the North Pacific humbpack whale stock, nor does it critically evaluate the status of the stock in relation to data gaps and current threats.

Support: Amend the Shark Conservation Act so that Federal regulations do not supercede stricter state legislation

Support: State Bill 26 to adopt an amendment that specifically defines "sustainable" with respect to reef fish populations 1/28/2013