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The Honolulu Advertiser

Updated at 11:22 a.m., Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Monk seal dies after being trapped in gill net

Advertiser Staff

An adult monk seal was killed Sunday when it was trapped in an unattended gill net off Makua Beach.

The animal was found wrapped in netting. A necropsy showed it had drowned, said David Schofield, the marine mammal response coordinator for NOAA Fisheries.

"It was an adult male, 5 to 10 years old. It had been hanging around Ka'ena Point and had not been seen anywhere else," Schofield said.

The net in which the animal died was not registered. State regulations require lay gill nets be registered and tagged. Regulations also require they be checked regularly.

A bystander said a second seal followed the dead animal's carcass to shore and remained nearby for some time.

"With only 1,200 monk seals left, and only 80 in the main islands, we can't afford to lose any," Schofield said.

Anyone with information about the incident can call the state Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 643-DLNR or 643-3567.