Suspect Charged in Monk Seal Net Drowning

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A Waianae man has been charged with violating state lay gillnet rules, which are believed to have caused the death of a male monk that became entangled in a net set in waters off Makua beach.

52-year-old John Kahalekii was charged with violations of the Department of Land and Natural Resources for failing to visually inspect his gillnet, register the lay net and deployment of a lay net longer than 125 feet.

Kahalekii was identified at the scene on the day of the seal's death.

On Sunday, May 27th, an officer patroling the state beach was stopped by a park visitor who reported a seal monk was stuck in a fishing net.  The witness reported that a second seal might also be entangled.

The officer swam out to the seal about 100 feet off shore and found the seal entangled in a gillnet, floating head down in about 20 feet of water.  The seal appeared to be dead.

Violations of state gillnet rules relating to the killing of an endangered species is punishable up to a $5000 fine and a 30-day jail term.