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From Marti:

On Sunday June 27th starting at about 2:00 pm, fishers and ‘ohana will be gathering in Waiawa to discuss issues surrounding the management of Ka‘ena Point on O‘ahu. (Click to see map)

Located at the most northwest point of O‘ahu, Ka‘ena is one of the last relatively wild shorelines left on the island. It is a beloved fishing spot for many families, a spiritual pathway into the afterlife, and a refuge for endangered birds.

Its extreme weather and remote location helped to limit development, though it has suffered its share of urban burdens, including train tracks, military training, and most recently mud-bogging and uncontrolled bonfires.

As you may already know, Ka‘ena has been the focus of many regulatory attempts over the years.  Most of these past efforts have met with failure due to lack of community support. Here is a link to the long list of abandoned management schemes at Ka‘ena.

With a brand of tenacity unique to state government, once again, the community faces a new management plan developed by staff at the Department of Land and Natural Resources with only selected input from community members.  The state needs a new management plan because Ka‘ena will likely be highlighted as one of O‘ahu’s wilderness camping areas under DLNR’s new “Recreational Renaissance.”   Recreational Renaissance is just a nifty name for another scheme to raise money from the use of state land in a wide range of not-always-compatible ways, including the collection various permit and entry fees to state parks.  A draft of the state’s plan for Ka‘ena will be open for general public comment at a hearing in late July.

In anticipation of this meeting and in response to many complaints about state management, shoreline fishers from around O‘ahu are gathering at a farm in Waiawa on June 27th to talk about the many issues facing this community.  The recent trend in harassment of fishers by DLNR enforcement officers and HPD has led many to forego fishing the way their families have for generations.  This is related to current state regulations that limit the longstanding practice of over-night fishing and current proposals to impose new permitting requirements on shoreline fishers.  Click here to visit a blog specific to Ka‘ena management issues.

This is a tough issue to grapple with.  For me, I think the disconnect was said best by one lifelong fisherman from Waipahu:

“Why you imposing fees on me, when I only can catch enough to feed my family, but you do nothing, nothing to prevent the massive fish takes by these commercial guys, who come in here just when the fish start to run and take the whole school one time?”

If you are interested in learning more about shoreline fishing issues on O‘ahu and want to connect with the local fishing community, please contact Summer at 753-4221/ culturalpractice@gmail.com to RSVP for the public meeting on June 27th at 2pm in Waiawa.  She asks that you bring own chairs.

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Vessel caught illegally fishing in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands:

A Coast Guard search plane on patrol of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument spotted a U.S.-flagged vessel fishing in a special preservation area within the monument on June 15. The Coast Guard said it took video and still photos of the vessel’s crew hauling its lines out of the water and the ship then “abruptly getting underway.”

The aircraft flew out of sight, but when it returned the vessel’s crew had put its lines back in the water and resumed fishing, the Coast Guard said. The incident was reported to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement, which ordered the vessel to cease fishing and return to Honolulu.

The name of the vessel, which reached port on Saturday, was not released because the case is under investigation. The vessel’s owner faces charges of illegally fishing in the national monument and fines from $1,000 to $130,000 for a repeat offense.

Papahanaumokuakea spans nearly 140,000 miles and is the largest marine protected area in the world. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands chain is home to more than 7,000 marine species and is the primary habitat for critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles.

See full article in the Honolulu Advertiser.

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We opened up the Star-Bulletin on Sunday, and there in the Gathering Place section was long-time NWHI advocate Uncle Buzzy, calling for a renewed public commitment to a true pu`uhonua — a ‘forever sanctuary’ — in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  Ho‘omaika‘i ia  Uncle Buzzy!

Uncle Louis “Buzzy” Agard, is a founding Board Member of KAHEA and a revered kupuna (elder) who lived and fished in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) for many years. In 2001, he was honored by President Clinton at the establishment of the NWHI Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. Today, Uncle Buzzy still serves on the citizen advisory council (RAC) for the Reserve and remains a staunch advocate for the strongest possible protections in the NWHI.

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Excerpts from his editorial:

In 2005, the state of Hawaii finally embraced what native Hawaiians have known for generations: the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are a delicate, sacred ecosystem that must be respected. The state took a visionary step forward establishing the first state marine refuge in the NWHI and requiring that human activity there “do no harm” to this fragile ecosystem. In 2006, the federal government followed suit, establishing the Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument. These protected areas rely on permits to control the human footprint up there.

But today more and more people are going to the NWHI for research, education, even sightseeing. Any time you set something off limits, people want to go there; this is the irony of our success in establishing protections for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Already this year, permits have been granted to allow unlimited numbers of people to go to the NWHI to do any kind of dredging, discharging and taking, even recreational fishing. Researchers have violated their permits and we have seen little will for enforcement. This is wrong. We must change our attitude about this place entirely — there should be no human footprint there.

Millions of dollars have been set aside by the federal government, and with good intentions. But money is a magnet for people. They see the money and their first question is, “What can I propose to do up there?” A scientist will say to the Hawaiian fisher, “Take only what you need,” but in his research practice he doesn’t heed his own advice. This is not why the people of Hawaii and the world fought so hard to protect this place.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands is a place of great hope for the future of the resources in our oceans, and it is for this reason that we set it aside. Let us honor the commitment we made to protect this fragile place as a true pu`uhonua.

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You can see the full letter at: http://starbulletin.com/2008/03/02/editorial/commentary.html

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