Announcements: February 17, 2021

Officials urge caution around humpback whales

An abundance of mother/calf pairs have been recently observed in Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and nearby waters.

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Humpback whale season in Hawaii runs November through May, although whales may be encountered in limited numbers during other months. Thousands of humpback whales return to Hawaiian waters each year to breed, give birth, and nurse their young.

With recent reports of multiple mother/calf pairs in Hawaii, ocean users are reminded to keep a safe distance from these annual visitors to the sanctuary. Collisions with vessels are a risk to both the animals and humans.

Boaters are reminded to post a lookout at all times throughout the year, not just when whales are visiting our waters. An extra set of eyes scanning the waters ahead and to the side of a boat can prevent collisions with marine life, obstructions, divers and other vessels. Slower speeds may also reduce the risk of collisions with the animals.

Humpback whales are protected in Hawaii. Federal regulations prohibit approaching within 100 yards of whales when on or in the water, and 1,000 feet when operating an aircraft. These and other regulations apply to all ocean users, including vessel operators, kayakers, paddle boarders, windsurfers, swimmers and divers throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

“Responsible wildlife viewing and education promotes stewardship, helping protect these animals at a critical time in their lives, said Ed Lyman, Natural Resource Management Specialist for the sanctuary. “Ocean users play an important role by helping the sanctuary monitor humpback whales in the sanctuary and nearby waters.”

If you see an injured or entangled marine mammal, keep a safe and legal distance, and call NOAA’s 24/7 Marine Wildlife Hotline at (888) 256-9840 or hail the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 immediately. To report a vessel coming too close to a whale, call the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964 or email respectwildlife@noaa.gov. Additional guidelines and safety tips can be found at https://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/visit/recreation.html.

HSPLS launches LibrariesHI app

Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS) patrons can now download a free, new patron-friendly app. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the library’s updated app offers patrons the ability to: manage loans and holds on materials, find the nearest library, manage family library cards in one place, place holds on physical and digital books, self-check-out and more.

Library patrons can download the app from their device’s app store or call or stop by their nearest library for assistance and more information.

“We are excited to launch the new LibrariesHI App. We’ve been able to incorporate feedback from our patrons to improve the app experience. It is easy to use and makes managing your library account a breeze,” said State Librarian Stacey Aldrich.

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When visiting the library, all patrons will be required to follow basic health and safety protocols including wearing a face covering, which covers their nose and mouth.

For more information, visit www.librarieshawaii.org.

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