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Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Reef management
comes ‘full circle’

Bullet UH oceanographer awarded for work
Bullet Grounded ship threatens reef, experts say

By Helen Altonn


A national movement to preserve endangered coral reef ecosystems began in Hawaii six years ago and "is coming full circle," says a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official.

Pacific islanders have many of the answers needed for sustainable use and conservation of coral reef resources, Michael Crosby said in an interview here.

People may think "integrated coastal zone management" is a new concept, but Pacific islanders have practiced it for thousands of years, he said.

Crosby is senior science adviser for marine and coastal ecosystems with the Global Environmental Center, U.S. Agency for International Development, International Affairs.

He is among more than several hundred high-level science, industry and government officials attending the Ninth Pacific Congress on Science and Technology at the Hawaiian Regent Hotel.

In a keynote address, Rear Adm. Paul G. Gaffney II, chief of the Office of Naval Research, said PACON 2000 "lays out a broad vision of what's at stake for us in ocean science and technology, and especially what's at stake in the Pacific.

"Oceanographers see more readily than others that this water planet is indeed one world."

Gaffney said ocean science and engineering are promising fields for international cooperation and partnership.

"Our future depends on overcoming the worst features of our common humanity -- ignorance, pride, greed, fear -- with the best -- reason, deliberation and a capacity for joy in understanding," he said.

Narendra Saxena, president of the Hawaii-based nonprofit PACON International, said it has "gone on a very big ride" since it began in 1982 with nothing but his ideas as a civil engineer.

After the first conference in 1984, he said, federal officials liked the concept so much that they began supporting it.

The organization now has 14 branches around the world, an international board with 21 directors and a two-year budget of about $400,000.

"I am very satisfied with what we are doing," Saxena said, pointing out that countries are networking at a high level at the conferences.

Delegates are discussing a wide range of marine science and technology issues, from climate change and diving to tsunamis, recreational tourism and threatened coral reefs and marine life.

The Hawaiian archipelago has about 70 percent of all coral reefs in the United States.

"The islands have a lot to be proud of," Crosby said. "They formed the basis of initiatives (to protect coral ecosystems)."

When President Clinton signed an executive order in 1998 creating a U.S. Coral Reef Task Force, "It was like going from minor league baseball to major league baseball," Crosby said.

A National Action Plan was submitted to Congress, and funds have been allocated to begin coral reef management.

Crosby and UH oceanographer Richard Grigg co-chaired a session yesterday with presentations on coral science and community-based knowledge by representatives of Russia, American Samoa, Guam and Micronesia.

"The success we're having now, and hope to have in the future, is founded on what started here on a local level and what is done on a local level," Crosby said.

He said federal agencies can provide technical expertise and coordination, but success can only be achieved with local communities as partners.

Western science and technology must be combined with island traditions and knowledge, he said. "The conference brings people together from both camps."

The Coral Reef Task Force, which includes leaders of all Pacific island groups, Puerto Rico and Florida, will meet in August in American Samoa to continue planning activities, Crosby said.

"The key here is education and outreach," he added, pointing out many people may not know that what they do on land could affect coral and fish.

UH oceanographer
awarded for work

Lorenz Magaard, associate dean of the University of Hawaii's School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), has received the International Award of the Pacific Congress on Marine Science and Technology.

Magaard was cited for significant contributions to the advance of ocean science, technology, policy and management at the PACON 2000 banquet last night at the Hawaiian Regent Hotel.

A native of Germany, Magaard left the University of Kiel in 1975 to join the UH Department of Oceanography and was its chairman from 1984 to 1990.

He had a major role in establishing SOEST and the International Pacific Research Center, a U.S.-Japan program at UH-Manoa. He is executive associate director of the center.

Star-Bulletin staff

Grounded ship threatens
reef, experts say

By Rod Ohira


An 85-foot long-line fishing vessel from Oahu that ran aground Monday in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands poses a serious environmental threat to Pearl and Hermes Reef, say state officials.

Officials know fuel is leaking from a ruptured tank but the amount is unknown.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources will order Swordman Inc. of Kaneohe, owners of the grounded fishing vessel Swordman I, to remove the boat from the coral reef.


Swordman I was carrying 6,000 gallons of diesel fuel, 100 gallons of hydraulic oil and miles of monofilament main lines as well as thousands of branch lines with hooks.

They all pose a threat to the reef/atoll structure, which is home to corals, lobsters, reef fishes and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

The SS Yorktown, a tugboat from Midway, and a Coast Guard C-130 from Air Station Barbers Point were on scene at about 6 p.m. yesterday, assisting in the transfer of five crew members from the damaged ship.

The crew members were taken to a nearby atoll where the National Marine Fisheries Service has a research post. No injuries to the crew were reported.

The fuel will be pumped from the boat early today, a Coast Guard spokesman said.

Pearl and Hermes Reef is part of the state of Hawaii and among a chain of islands, shoals, reefs and atolls that extend over 1,200 miles northwest of Kauai.

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