Scientists named to Protected Species Committee

August 13, 2013

Samuel Kahng, Ph.D.
Samuel Kahng, Ph.D.
David Hyrenbach, Ph.D.
David Hyrenbach, Ph.D.

HONOLULU — In Hawaiian waters, where diverse marine animals traverse the shores, fishery management plays a key role in the industry and conservation. Sustainable fisheries allow the industry to continue while addressing impacts on the environment. Aiding that effort are two Hawai‘i Pacific University ocean scientists, recently named to a new committee on protected animals in Western Pacific fishery systems.

Associate Professor of Oceanography Samuel Kahng, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of Oceanography David Hyrenbach, Ph.D., are part of the Protected Species Committee of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council. The new committee will advise the council on priorities for management, research and conservation relating to protected species.

“I look forward to working with the council and my colleagues to help address the contemporary conservation issues and challenges associated with protected species and fisheries management,” said Kahng, who offers expertise as a coral and reef fish specialist.

“As science continues to advance our knowledge of ocean ecology, population dynamics and human impacts on our environment, there is a ongoing need to assess and refine our approaches to conservation and fisheries management,” said Kahng. His recent research includes investigating efficient light harvesting in deep-water corals.

Adds Hyrenbach, “The Protected Species Committee enhances the council’s species-specific management programs with broader ecosystem considerations and policies that coordinate management across fishing gears and target species.”

Hyrenbach will advise the committee on the ecology and conservation of seabirds. His recent research includes a two-year shearwater bird fallout survey off Waimanalo, O‘ahu.

Both scientists are based at the Oceanic Institute where they teach marine science graduate students.

“We look forward to working with Dr. David Hyrenbach and Dr. Sam Kahng, whose diverse research experiences in the seabirds and coral reef ecosystems, respectively, will be a welcomed addition to our council ohana,” said council Executive Director Kitty Simonds. “Together with the rest of the committee members, we will continue our commitment to keep fisheries sustainable in the Western Pacific.”

Other members of the committee include experts in sea turtles, marine mammals and sharks. The committee also includes representation from the council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee and Advisory Panel.

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council was established by Congress to manage fisheries in offshore waters around Hawai‘i, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and U.S. Pacific remote island areas. It works with local communities, fishermen and the federal government to keep fisheries sustainable, protecting the fishing industry and the local communities that depend on it. The council has developed conservation measures for sea turtles and seabirds that achieved bycatch (species caught unintentionally) reduction in the Hawai‘i-based longline fishery by approximately 90 percent.