Resolution to Point Out that the U. S. Coast Guard Loran Station on Green Island, Kure Atoll, Should be Closed to save the local Hawaiian Monk Seal Colony

WHEREAS, the Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) is classified as endangered because the species has a limited range, a total population of less than 1000 animals, and the population is declining; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission has determined that the land and sea of the northwestern (Leeward) Hawaiian Islands (seven of which are included in the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge) are critical habitat of this endangered seal; and

WHEREAS, the population at the two westernmost breeding grounds (Kure and Midway Atolls), about one-third of the species pupping habitat, have shown dramatic declines in recent years, and surveys reveal that the seal populations at Midway Atoll (where a large human population at the U.S. Naval Station has existed since WWII) declined from about 70 to less than 10 in recent years, and that the monk seal population at Green Island, Kure Atoll, numbered well over 100 animals in 1957 (before the U.S. Coast Guard established a LORAN station there during 1960-1961), and that the Kure Atoll population has declined to about 50 seals, of which only two were juveniles by the autumn of 1977, indicating that a continued decline is inevitable there; and

WHEREAS, frequent human disturbance of nursing mother monk seals is believed to be a major factor contributing to the failure of young to survive; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. C.G. plans to close another LORAN station in the Leeward Hawaiian Islands on Tern Island at French Frigate Shoals in the near future; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. C.G. LORAN station on Green Island, Kure Atoll is the station most seriously affecting the Hawaiian monk seal population;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Society of Mammalogists requests the Secretaries of Commerce and Interior to point out to the U.S. C.G. that while closing down the French Frigate Shoals LORAN station is of little importance to the survival of the Hawaiian monk seal population (because the FFS breeding islets are isolated from the Tern Island LORAN Station and associated human disturbances of the environment) it is of the utmost importance that the LORAN Station on Green Island, Kure Atoll, be closed; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that it be pointed out to the U.S. C.G. and U.S. Navy that all of their activities in the Leeward (Northwestern) Hawaiian Islands should be consolidated at Sand Island, Midway Atoll, if at all possible, so that unnecessary human impact on the environments of endangered wildlife in other areas will be minimized.