4 Jun 2014

Hawaii pressured over whale and turtle protection

5:39 pm on 4 June 2014

A lawmaker in Hawaii has called on the US Government to remove humpback whales and green sea turtles from the list of endangered species in Hawaii.

There are now more than 21,000 whales in Hawaiian waters compared to about 1,600 during the early 1980s.

A State Senator, Malama Solomon, says they're so plentiful they pose a threat to the fishing industry.

Ms Solomon says commercial fishers face stiff fines when they strike these giant sea mammals but any damage to their vessels isn't covered by insurance because the fishers are automatically at fault.

She says she thinks green sea turtles should be off the endangered list for the same reason.

A lawyer for Earthjustice, David Henkin, says Hawaii's turtle population hasn't fully recovered and the jury is still out whether the whale population has stabilised.

He says both species should be protected because they are a major visitor attraction.