The ocean waters, reefs and beaches of the Hawaiian Islands are home to the green sea turtle (called honu in Hawaiian) and the hawksbill sea turtle (called 'ea in Hawaiian). The Pacific leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles migrate through the open ocean near the islands. Leatherbacks, loggerheads and hawksbills are officially listed as endangered, while the Hawaiian green sea turtle, or honu, is listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.
Millions of people enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving to see Hawaii's green sea turtles, which are highly curious. But now a new threat to the precious honu is on the horizon: Federal actions are being taken to prematurely delist the honu from Endangered Species Act protections. The actions are in response to a petition filed by a Hawaiian group aligned with commercial fishing interests, the Hawaiian Civic Association, which openly advocates for hunting of sea turtles for their flesh and eggs.
The Hawaii longline fishery for swordfish takes a deadly toll on leatherbacks and loggerheads. Read more here.
Photo of Hawaiian green sea turtle or honu, copyright Anita Wintner.