Fishing rules hearing at monument erected for Oahu

Nov. 9 – A public hearing to discuss fishing regulations at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will be held on Oahu as fisheries managers decide how to encourage non-commercial fishing in the monument.

A public hearing to discuss fishing regulations at the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument will be held on Oahu as fisheries managers decide how to encourage non-commercial fishing in the monument.

The meeting will take place Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Hibiscus Ballroom at the Ala Moana Hotel, the latest in a series of public hearings that have been held across the state.

The Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council, or Wespac, decided in September to hold public hearings on a package of proposed regulations for non-commercial fishing in the Papahanaumokuakea Monument Expansion Area following concerns about regulations.

Wespac wants to encourage fishing by Native Hawaiians in the monument, but the proposed regulations contemplate the implementation of “customary exchange”, a type of subsistence fishing that would allow anglers to catch fish, bring them home and share it within the community.

Customary exchange is one of the main problems for opponents of fishing regulations.

They said there was no tradition of fishing the monument, which is in federal waters around the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and bringing the catch home. Native Hawaiians used to go there for important occasions.

“My grandfather was one of those fishermen from Kauai. It was the ultimate trip, escaping French Frigate Shoals with a fleet of fishing boats – it was like a quest for them,” said member Pelika Andrade. from the Papaha naumokuakea Native. Hawaiian Cultural Working Group. “It was not there to exploit and live off fishing.”

The task force had testified to Wespac in September against the use of the customary exchange.

Customary exchange could also include cost recovery methods, which would allow fishers to be reimbursed for customary exchange fishing trips.

Opponents say cost recovery could easily be exploited to allow commercial fishing under the guise of non-commercial fishing. Commercial fishing is prohibited in the 580,000 square mile monument, the largest fully protected conservation area in the world.

“We are afraid of what these small flaws could lead to, especially when these options are not well defined. … I feel like this could be a Trojan horse,” said Kekuewa Kikiloi, associate professor at Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii.

Wespac staff were not immediately available for comment, but a spokesperson said at public hearings – held so far in Maui, Hawaii Island, Kauai and Molokai – attendees wanted to have access to the monument to fish.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has initiated a process to consider designating Papa Hanaumokuakea as a National Marine Sanctuary, giving Wespac an opportunity to write fishing regulations for it.

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