Maui to Launch Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit

March 18, 2013, 11:08 AM HST · Updated March 18, 11:48 AM
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Life in Kahului was returning to normal after an overnight tsunami warning that forced the evacuation of low-lying areas. On Sunday morning, October 28, 2012, activity at Kahului Harbor was minimal, with no visible signs of damage along the shoreline fronting the Hawaiian Canoe Club. Photo by Wendy Osher,

File photo of Kahului Harbor by Wendy Osher,

By Wendy Osher

The state will host a public open house and blessing of a new Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit patrol vessel over the weekend at Kahului Harbor on Maui.

The unit is part of a pilot program that is set to launch in north Maui by spring 2013.

The goal of the unit is to developing a successful fisheries enforcement model that will enable the state to deploy similar units across Hawai’i.

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The North Maui Unit will cover a 13-mile stretch of coastline from Hulu Island below Waihe’e to Baldwin Beach Park in Paia, extending three miles seaward.

The program is made possible through a partnership between the state, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, and Conservation International’s Hawaii Fish Trust program.

Governor Neil Abercrombie said he is excited about what he called a promising partnership saying, “This patrol vessel gives us the means to transform DOCARE’s capacity to effectively manage near-shore fisheries and respond to Hawaii’s fishing community and the general public.”

The blessing and grand opening will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, at the Kahului boat launch ramp.

“This event is an opportunity for the Maui fishing community and broader public to learn about the Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “We encourage everyone to come out and learn more about how this innovative pilot initiative will support the local community, and about other ocean conservation and pono fishing activities in the community.”

“Hawaii’s people depend on our ocean for their livelihood and sustenance,” said Jason Philibotte, CI’s Hawaii Fish Trust director. “The Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit will be a vital tool to help ensure fishing and sustainable local seafood in Hawaii for generations to come,” he said.

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