HONOLULU (AP) - Federal and state wildlife managers are urging fishermen to quickly report when a Hawaiian monk seal has accidentally been caught on a line.
They say eight of the endangered seals have been caught so far this year, after nine were caught last year. In the past 10 years, 77 monk seals were hooked.
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Friday reporting a hook as soon as possible can help save a seal's life and minimize any injuries.
Quick reporting also helps wildlife managers and researchers develop ways to ways to keep seals away from fishing gear and fishing areas.
There are only about 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals in existence, and the population is shrinking 4 percent per year.