Save the whales! Screw the people!

It's a tiny island, and people feel strongly about things. The place is so beautiful, so fruitful, so productive-- the history is fraught with racial blow-ups and slow simmers but ribboned with intermarriages and cross-cultural pot-melting-- and there is nowhere on earth like it. People born here either want to stay here forever, or run for the hills of the mainland. People on the mainland fantasize about the crashing waves and tropical breezes and long to move here finally. And then do, and find it provincial, stubborn and unaccommodating. But no denying the shocking fertility of the earth, with our passionfruit vines coiling up the electrical wires, and the unique-- sacred-- diversity of the reefs. There was even a shark in the baby pond recently, along with the usual endangered seals, endangered turtles, rare octopuses, leaping black crabs, revolting sea slugs, and las vegas show-girl lobsters.

So today at playgroup Skyla said, "did you hear they're trying to turn all of Kauai and Niihau into a whale sanctuary? No more beaches, no more fishing, no more people in the water at all!"
This I had to google.
is what came up.

Diana "for Mayor" Labedz with the Surfrider Foundation present these recommendations for the extant Whale Sanctuary to adopt:
The stated aims: expand the whale sanctuary to include, according to the little map on the site, everything north of Kekaha on the west side, enforce sanctuary speed limits, establish noise limits, ensure whale sanctuary involvement in issuing pollution permits, close "Designated areas of the Hawaiian Humpback Whale Sanctuary... to commercial or recreational fishing." Also, limit fishing nets, establish a whale rehab center, have a transparent budget, have the sanctuary board be representative of the island's population, and ensure enforcement support.

Most of that sounds fantastic-- sure! Build a humane society for whales! Yes, ban ear-drum blasting sonar! Sure, make people responsible for their equipment. If money grew on brain coral, go for it! But recreational fishing limitations?

Why would you, Ms. Diana-for-Mayor, antagonize the local populations in that way? Local fishermen want the ocean to be healthy, and they could be your strongest supporters if you were able to bring them into the effort rather than alienate them. What incentive do they have to help this process if you are hoping to restrict their right to fish for subsistence? Isn't there a middle road-- for example, requiring fishing licenses to limit takes rather than a flat-out ban?

Haole transplant projects like this-- blowing up the superferry, booting out the GMOs, blockading bike paths-- are so divisive in the community. Yes, the superferry needed to go through the proper environmental impact check-ups. Yes Monsanto planted vast swaths of non-food monoculture-- it's not that the issues are completely imaginary. But loud angry people with lots of disposable income and free time approach the problem solving so abrasively and with such disregard for local culture, history and values that little differences like race and income become enormous political hurdles.


  1. Oh, how I miss the drama! Your words bring me back to the complexities of island life. I feel a twinge of homesickness. miss you

  2. Drama is the right word write so great with pictures & feelings....will you run for mayor...someday?


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