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UH Hilo facility hosts annual pacific area marine conference

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Date: Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Hawaiʻi Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility (HCRF) and Hilo Marine Mammal Response Network (HMMRN) hosted the 5th Annual Pacific Islands Region, Hawaiian Monk Seal and Cetacean Responder’s Meeting May 1 – May 3 at the `Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi.

The meeting drew over 150 participants including marine mammal responders from East and West Hawaiʻi, Kaua`i, Maui, O`ahu, Moloka`i and Kahoolawe, along with Pacific Region representatives from Guam, American Samoa and the Mariana Islands, as well as members from various agencies: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA); National Parks Service; Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR); and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Topics of discussion included Hawaiʻi and Regional Reports, Hawaiian Monk seal updates, as well as cetacean (whale and dolphin) rehabilitation management. The keynote address by Keith Matassa, from the University of New England’s (UNE) Marine Animal Rescue Center, focused on development of a successful university-based marine mammal stranding and rehabilitation facility.

UNE’s facility and UH Hilo’s HCRF are among only a few marine mammal rehabilitation programs nationally that are located on a university campus.

This year’s meeting marked only the second time that the gathering was not held in Honolulu. The event was moved to UH Hilo specifically due to development of the facility, housed at the coastal site of the Pacific Aquaculture and Coastal Resources Center (PACRC), which is a major partner in the project. HCRF has received NOAA approval to house 18 species of whales and dolphins, up to 20 feet long, and can accommodate as many as two small whales or dolphins at a time.

For more information, contact HMMRN or HCRF at ( or (808) 756-5961 or (808) 933-3114.

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