POSTED: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Catch limit bars bigeye tuna in last days of 2009

The Hawaii-based longline fishing fleet will be barred from catching bigeye tuna in the western and central Pacific for the last three days of the year.

The announcement came yesterday from the National Marine Fisheries Service.

International agreements and federal regulations limit the annual U.S. longline catch of bigeye tuna to 3,763 metric tons.

The fisheries agency says it has determined the 2009 catch limit for bigeye tuna is expected to be reached by Dec. 29.

During the period, Hawaii longliners may still fish for bigeye tuna in the eastern Pacific, which is generally in waters east of the Big Island.

The 2010 fishing year opens Jan. 1, with the U.S. catch again limited to 3,763 metric tons.

Elderly victim was covered in blood

When a city ambulance arrived at an Aiea Heights home Wednesday on an assault call, an emergency medical technician found an 85-year-old woman slumped in a reclining chair and covered with blood, police said.

Standing over her, said police, was her grandson, Darrel Wright.

When the EMT asked Wright if he was responsible for the woman's injuries, police said, he nodded his head, made a fist with one hand and punched his other hand repeatedly to demonstrate what he did.

The ambulance took the woman to the Queen's Medical Center in critical condition.

Wright, 49, is charged with attempted second-degree murder. After a hearing yesterday in Honolulu District Court, he remains in custody, unable to post $500,000 bail.

Police said Wright called 911, told the operator he had just beaten up his grandmother and needed police assistance. They said Wright is under a doctor's care for psychiatric issues.

Slabs dropped on coral reef spark probe

WAILUKU » The state's accidental dropping of concrete blocks on live coral will be investigated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dan Polhemus, administrator of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Aquatic Resources, said the department requested the federal investigation so the inquiry would be independent.

The department sank 1,400 1-ton concrete blocks off Keawakapu, Maui, on Dec. 2 to enhance an existing artificial reef. But it reported the next day that some of the slabs had fallen on live coral.

Last week, Polhemus said it appears about 50 of the slabs were dropped on the reef, while the rest fell on sand.

The department's artificial reef program has been temporarily halted.