Within the past three weeks, two disturbing incidents have occurred at two of Kauai’s most popular and accessible freshwater fishing reservoirs.
Last weekend at Tanaka Pond, two local youth were seen using three-prong spears and spear guns to speaer dozens of tucunare, bass and tilipia that were left on it’s banks to die. Also, at Sloggett Pond, a huge net was laid by some Filipino men, which harvested hundreds of pounds of trophy-sized gamefish as well as the sought-after tilipia.
It can be safely said that these fish were sold as well as consumed by these plunderers. Before we go any further, this is not a racial thing, just descriptions. We, the writers of this letter, are local-born and Filipinos.
The second incident was reported to the state’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, but the caller was told it was out of their jurisdiction since Sloggett is privately run.
But if this is the case, why are we required to buy a state freshwater fishing license? Isn’t the water these reservoirs use a state resource, and is it also the state that originally brought in these popular gamefish (tucunare, smallmouth and largemouth bass)?
Catch-and-release angling should be practiced and encouraged at these ponds. If not, size and bag limits should be observed. This fishing resource is not endless, and we need to preserve it for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
Two years ago, an eyewitness report was made to Lihu’e Plantation about two divers spearing fish in Tanaka Pond. Divers can occasionally be seen working the pond with their stringers full of fish. When confronted, they tell us to “mind your own business.” It’s common knowledge that spear fishing and netting of Hawaii’s freshwater gamefish is illegal, but it still goes on.
Kauai’s freshwater resources shouldn’t be seen as free for all or buffet items for large parties. Periodically, at some of our island’s workplaces, guys can be seen accepting orders for tilipia or other freshwater fish. We are all familiar with the rapid decline of the ‘opihi, and many of us can report on going to large parties seeing serving trays filled with undersized ‘opihi.
Who do we report these irresponsible people to?
Face-to-face confrontations can get quite ugly. If the state and the landowners are unable or reluctant to do something, what can the majority of freshwater anglers do? How can the bad guys be stopped without denying access to the honest majority of anglers?
JOSEPH NAGA and TONY VICENTE Lihu’e