State officials said today that all off-shore islets that are state seabird sanctuaries, such as the Mokulua Islands off Lanikai, remain closed until further notice due to COVID-19 concerns.
These offshore islets — normally listed as open for restricted access – are not covered by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s reopening of beaches on Saturday, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. In addition to the Mokulua Islands (also known as Twin Isles made up of Moku Nui and Moku Iki), they include Mokuauia (known as Goat Island), Popoia (known as Flat Island) and Kapapa.
Prior to COVID-19 regulations, paddlers could go out to the beach at Moku Nui, with restrictions, while Moku Iki has always been closed to the public.
“The islands and islets are refuge for many native seabirds, plants, and insects, as well as for Hawaiian monk seals and other protected and endangered ocean species,” the DLNR said in a news release. “This is the time of year when seals may be pupping and it’s important that they be left alone. Anyone caught on the islands can be cited for entering a closed area.”
However, Ahu O Laka, or Kaneohe Sandbar, is not a state seabird sanctuary, remains open.
Other Oahu offshore isle seabird sanctuaries, including Kihewamoku, Pulemoku, Kukuihoolua, Mokualai, Kekepa, Moku Manu, Mokulea, Manana, and Kaohikaipu, are normally closed, and remain so.
The isles, including Kaneohe Sandbar, are under the jurisdiction of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
During regular, three-day holiday weekends including the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, alcohol consumption at Kaneohe Sandbar is prohibited, and officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement will patrol the area to ensure compliance.