Fisheries Enforcement Unit Issues 12 Citations Since Launch on Maui
By Wendy Osher
A total of 12 citations have been issued by the newly formed Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit on Maui since it was launched in the spring.
The unit is part of a state pilot program that patrols a 13-mile stretch of coastline from Hulu Island below Waiheʻe to Baldwin Beach Park in Pāʻia.
The citations included violations of diver safety flag requirements; spear fishing violations; exceeding bag limits; and undersized catch of opihi, kumu and he’e.
Officers with the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement also retrieved two unattended illegal lay nets and one unattended illegal throw net, officials said.
In addition to the 12 citations issued, eight investigations were initiated, one of them involving a fishermen check-in requirement, according to state reports.
Officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources say the unit is helping to protect marine resources by curbing illegal activities that have the potential to impact future generations.
State officials hope to expand upon the first-of-its-kind specialized unit by establishing other units across the state.
“The Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit officers focused their efforts on illegal netting activities via land and vessel patrols,” said DOCARE administrator Randy Awo in an agency press release.
He continues saying, “The officers’ ability to focus on a specific region of the coastline, both on land and sea, has allowed them to gain an intimate knowledge of the area, including its variety of fishing activities and users.”
DLNR Chair William Aila, Jr., also issued a statement saying, “The new fisheries enforcement unit aims to increase public awareness about the importance of ocean conservation and pono fishing activities on Maui. It also sends a message that we are serious about protecting the marine resources of Maui.”
Officers also also working on a volunteer sector under the Makai Watch program in which individuals will be formally trained by CFEU officers to help in providing outreach and education to the public.