Statewide fishing organization hosts fishers’ meetings on “Marine 30×30 Initiative”
The Hawaiʻi Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition hosts information sessions on Kauaʻi, Maui, Oʻahu, and the Big Island to discuss possible impacts of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources’ “Holomua: Marine 30×30 Initiative.”
The initiative has its origins in Governor David Ige’s announced commitment at the 2016 World Conservation Congress to target “30% of Hawaiʻi’s nearshore waters to be effectively managed by 2030.”
Hawaiʻi Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition has been monitoring the development of Governor Ige’s commitment as the Department of Land and Natural Resources turned the governor’s commitment into a working program. The department has chosen Maui Island as the first island to begin the process of identifying specific areas and determining rules to implement on Maui. The Department has not identified which island will follow Maui.
Phil Fernandez, President of HFACT, and a fisher on the Big Island, indicated concern that fishers are unprepared for what is about to happen to them. “Most fishers just want to fish, and they do not keep up with possible changes in rules that might impact them.” As the “Eyes and Ears of Fishermen”, HFACT has been keeping a close eye on developments within the Division of Aquatic Resources. HFACT believes that these developments are complex and overwhelming to the average fisher, but fishers need to be informed.
HFACT reviewed various Holomua: Marine 30×30 documents that have been published by DAR, and at the upcoming island meetings HFACT will be explaining the range of possible impacts to fishers, including potential area closures to fishing, bag limits, bans on the take of certain species, gear restrictions, and other fisheries management rules.
Meetings are currently scheduled on Kauaʻi, Maui, and Oʻahu at the following times and locations:
- Kauaʻi (Līhuʻe) Tues, Oct. 4 Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Maui (Wailuku) Thurs, Oct. 6 The Cameron Center Auditorium 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Oʻahu (Kāneʻohe) Thurs, Oct. 11 Kaneohe Elementary School Cafeteria 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Oʻahu (Waiʻanae) Weds, Oct. 12 Nanaikapono School Cafeteria 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Oahu (Honolulu) Thurs, Oct. 13 Stevenson Middle School Cafeteria 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
- Meetings for Kona and Hilo on the Big Island will be scheduled for December.
“To DAR’s credit, DAR will be making an unprecedented effort to engage fishers into the planning process,” said Fernandez. However, fishers need to get prepared to meet with DAR and learn how to engage in the process.