New Maui Fishing Rules Topic of Upcoming Meeting
By Wendy Osher
Fishers are invited to a special educational meeting this Saturday to help educate the public about the new Maui Island fishing rules that went into effect on Nov. 1, 2014.
The meeting is hosted by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, and includes participation from enforcement officers with the Division of Conservation and Resources, as well as volunteers from the Makai Watch Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit.
The meeting runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Maui Mall in Kahului.
The new rules establish bag and size limits for uhu or parrotfish and kūmū or goatfish caught in Maui waters.
“The event this Saturday will help to reach fishermen and answer their questions about the new rules,” said Matt Yamamoto, Maui DOCARE Branch Chief in an agency press release. “This is a preventative measure as we’d rather educate than issue citations,” he said.
The rule includes a bag limit of no more than two large uhu (uhu ʻahuʻula and palukaluka), and prohibitions on the take of blue male uhu for the two large species–uhu ʻuliʻuli and uhu ʻeleʻele.
The size limit for uhu is a minimum of 14 inches for the large species and a minimum of 10 inches for the small species.
There are also bag limits for the popular goatfish or kūmū of no more than one; and moano kea and munu of no more than two.
The size limit for goatfish is a minimum of 12 inches for the large species ( kumu, moano kea, and weke nono) and a minimum of 8 inches for the small species, provided that the take of ʻoama (juvenile wekeʻa less than 5 inches in length) is allowed by hook-and-line only.
The rules are supported by the Division of Aquatic Resources and come after more than 5 years of research on the biology and ecology of the fish and population data that indicate management is required now.
During Saturday’s meeting, fishers will also have an opportunity to learn about the Makai Watch, a volunteer component of the Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit that was created to assist the department with education and serve as additional eyes and ears on the water and shorelines.
According to department reports, the state has documented 1,026 inspections, conducted 95 investigations, and issued 62 citations to fishermen for fisheries related offenses since May of 2013. Department officials say officers also confiscated 3,048 feet of illegal gill nets and 12 illegal throw nets.
Violators are required to show up in court, with most of those convicted ordered to pay fines of between $100 and $250.
Department officials say one repeat offender in particular was recently sentenced to four days in jail and fined for violations that included “two counts of unlawful use of nets within the Kahului Harbor Fisheries Management Area, exceeding the FMA bag limit, and possessing a throw net under the 2-inch minimum mesh size.”
- To learn more about the new rules visit the DLNR’s website.
- To report violations, call DOCARE toll free from anywhere in Hawaiʻi, 643-DLNR.
- People interested in joining the CFEU’s Makai Watch efforts can call (808) 873-3990.