Rules set for taking lobster, crab
Lobster and Kona crab season opened Saturday with new rules that limit the take of the crustaceans and regulate the use of nets to catch them.
It is now illegal to take female spiny lobsters and Kona crabs.
Under the new rules, lobster nets are considered lay gill nets and must be registered with the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Kailua Bay and portions of Kaneohe Bay, the southeastern Oahu coastline (Portlock to Pearl Harbor) and all Maui waters are also closed for netting.
Nets can be no longer than 125 feet, must be lower than 7 feet and must have a minimum mesh size of 234 inches. Nets must also have floats displaying the registration ID number, conform to the maximum soak time, be inspected every two hours and be attended and fished during daylight hours only.
Other current rules establish a minimum size for spiny lobsters of 3 inches in carapace (head portion of the lobster's body) length. Spearing of spiny lobsters is prohibited, and lobsters must be possessed whole with head and tail attached.
Slipper lobsters must be 2 inches in tail width, and spearing of slipper lobsters is prohibited.
For details, go to the Division of Aquatic Resources Web site (www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dar), the current Hawaii Fishing Regulations booklet, or call any division office.
Hawaii CC ranked 16th in U.S.
Washington Monthly magazine ranked Hawaii Community College 16th among the top 30 community colleges in the nation in the magazine's first listing of America's Best Community Colleges.
Hawaii CC's ranking was largely based on the 2006 Community College Survey of Student Engagement as well as graduation rates.
The community college survey looks at how well schools teach, and Hawaii CC's graduation rate of 21 percent is the highest in the UH Community College system, the college said in a news release.
Washington Monthly also released its rankings of the top national universities and liberal arts colleges in last month's issue.
The University of Hawaii at Manoa was ranked 151st out of 242 national universities. UH Hilo ranked 172nd out of 201 liberal arts colleges.
To view the community college rankings, visit www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2007/0709.ccrankings.html.
Police, Fire, Courts
Sandbar brawlers flee, 3 hurt
A fight at the sandbar in Kaneohe Bay at about 4:30 yesterday afternoon sent three people to the hospital with minor injuries, Kaneohe police said.
Police said they were not sure whether a weapon was used. No suspects were in custody.
At Heeia Kea pier last night, Natasha Moniz said she saw about 20 people involved in the fight, but not everyone was throwing punches.
Joanie Ishiki said police broke up the fight soon after it started. She said there was drinking going on at the sandbar, but it did not seem out of control.
Ishiki said there were about 50 boats and several hundred people out at the sandbar.
"The police were out there and they did their job," she said.
Enforcement officers for the Department of Land and Natural Resources responded to the fight and then called Honolulu police and the U.S. Coast Guard for assistance.
The Coast Guard said the cutter Galveston Island searched for about an hour for suspects.
Enforcement supervisors at Heeia Kea Boat Harbor last night said all information about the incident needed to be cleared through a DLNR spokeswoman, who was unable to get information as of 8:30 p.m.
The 3-acre sandbar is a popular place for boaters and kayakers.
Two years ago a series of brawls after a rowdy Labor Day concert at the sandbar led to calls to ban activity at the sandbar, which is also known as Ahu o Laka.
Elizabeth Lau, president of the Kualoa-He'eia Hawaiian Civic Club, said at a hearing in November 2005 that drinking and loud music are "disrespect of a sacred shrine."
The DLNR, working with the Coast Guard, increased enforcement of alcohol-related boating laws. At the time, Roy Yanagihara, acting Oahu district manager for boating, said it might be possible to resolve concerns about the sandbar by enforcing existing rules rather than attempting to make new ones.
The Legislature also passed a bill in 2006 making the sandbar a state monument to allow for better regulation of the area. But the bill was vetoed by Gov. Linda Lingle.
Man arrested after bottle hits officer
Police arrested a 26-year-old Makiki man Sunday after he allegedly assaulted a police officer with a beer bottle.
At about 11:45 p.m., police were investigating a report of four or five men fighting and throwing beer bottles on Kinau Street when an intoxicated man threw a beer bottle at a police sergeant, police said.
The bottle hit the sergeant on the side and caused swelling and redness, police said.
Police arrested the man on suspicion of first-degree assault of a police officer.
Armed robber holds up eatery
Police were searching for a man who robbed the Fort Street Mall Subway restaurant at gunpoint Sunday.
The man entered the store at about 4 p.m. and pointed a handgun at the 46-year-old cashier, demanding money, police said. The suspect then took an undisclosed amount of cash and left, police said.
No description of the suspect was available.
2 blazes occupy Big Island crews
Big Island firefighters continued to mop up yesterday after two brush fires in North Kohala Sunday night.
Firefighters rescued 13 campers and three vehicles trapped by a fire near the 10-mile marker of the Akoni Pule Highway. The fire was reported at about 8:32 p.m. and burned nearly 100 acres before it was brought under control at about 3:10 a.m.
Fire officials said the fire is suspicious because there were multiple fires along the highway.
Another fire a few miles north on Kapaa Park Road was reported at 8:42 p.m. and burned nearly 200 acres before it was brought under control.
The Fire Department reported 10 vehicles were moved from Kapaa Park because of fire and smoke hazards.
Firefighters were at the scene of that fire until 9:30 a.m. yesterday.
Bulldozers and the Fire Department helicopter were called in to help fight both fires.