The U.S. Coast Guard’s recent Operation Koa Kai proved to be a busy one, filled with a series of patrols aimed at protecting marine life and the public from unsanctioned vessel charters on the Big Island.
The annual operation, which took place in November by Coast Guard Sector Honolulu & Marine Safety and Security Team 91107, resulted in 133 hours, 38 maritime security and response patrols, into joint patrols with NOAA and DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement partners, as well as seven patrols and 17 flight hours by Air Station Barbers Point crews.
While on patrol, Sector Honolulu’s MSST team and NOAA Law Enforcement officers joined forces to make sure Hawaii’s native Spinner Dolphins and other marine animals were protected from capture or other activities that violate the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
There were recent reports of “potential violations along with decreasing fish stocks within the sensitive reef environments surrounding the Big Island of Hawaii,” USCG said.
“Such activity is not only in violation of several laws and regulations, but also exposes unsuspecting members of the public to danger by means of inexperienced recreational charter operators, insufficient safety equipment, and unsatisfactory vessel material conditions,” the agency said, adding that illegal charter boat owners and operators could be fined as much as $27,500.