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State roundup for March 8

Longliners may lose tuna rights

HONOLULU (AP) — Conservation groups say the longline fishing industry is at risk of losing rights to fish for tuna in a large swath of ocean south of the Hawaii Islands.

Earlier this week, the National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed that a false killer whale most likely suffered a fatal injury when it was hooked by a longline tuna fishing boat on Jan. 29.

Under new federal rules, a second such incident would trigger a closure for the rest of the year to tuna longline fishing in a large area south of the main islands.

The Fisheries Service says longline fishing is killing false killer whales found within 87 miles of the main islands at nearly twice the rate the population can sustain. False killer whales are a large dolphin species.

20-year term in double shooting

HONOLULU (AP) — A man who shot two people in an Oahu park in 2011 has received a mandatory 20-year prison sentence.

Richard P. Silva, 45, was charged with attempted murder, but a jury found him guilty of lesser crimes, including assault and using a firearm to commit the assault.

Silva claims the shooting was in self-defense. But Circuit Judge Randal Lee said he believes Silva went to Kipapa Park in Mililani with a gun and shot two men because he held a grudge over a beating he took in high school.

The judge on Tuesday imposed the 20-year term for the firearm conviction and ordered that Silva serve at least three years before becoming eligible for parole.

Mediation for state, teachers

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s teachers union and state officials have agreed to seek the help of a mediator in resolving contract talks that have drawn out for months.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association and the Department of Education issued a joint release Wednesday saying the union asked for the mediation and the department, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the state education board agreed.

Both sides say mediation must by law be approved by the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. The sides say they have requested approval.

The union in December rejected the state’s latest offer, citing concerns with pay and teacher evaluation provisions.

Teachers have been working under a last, best and final offer after their last contract expired in June 2011.


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