Ige signs Haena fishing rules

LIHUE — Gov. David Ige’s office announced Tuesday that the governor signed into law a historic rules package creating the state’s first Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area in Haena.

The new rules are geared at helping the Haena community protect its waters by limiting the type of fishing gear and harvesting methods permitted within the CBSFA boundaries. The rules also prohibit the harvest of marine life for commercial purposes and set new daily take and possession limits for certain species and impose fines for noncompliance.

The Haena CBSFA includes state waters within the Haena ahupuaa, extending from the shoreline out one mile and along the coast from the border of Na Pali Coast State Park to just east of Makua (Tunnels) Beach.

“The Haena CBSFA is an outstanding example of self-determination and governance for a local community, which wants to not only preserve but enhance its local fishery for sustainability,” Ige said.

Kawika Winter, Makai Watch coordinator for Haena, said he and other advocates of the CBSFA are excited by news the governor has endorsed the rules package.

“I’m glad to see that the governor is recognizing this cutting-edge community conservation effort,” he said.

Haena’s rules establish a “Makua Puuhonua” (marine refuge), consisting of all waters within the fringing reef of Makua lagoon, as a “no entry” sub-zone, as well as an “Opihi Management Area” within 300 feet of the shoreline between the boundaries of Haena and Napali state parks.

DLNR will hold a public hearing on the Haena CBSFA Management Plan at a later date.

Haena’s pursuit of designated waters where the community would be allowed to address overfishing through traditional fisheries management practicies began almost 20 years ago. After almost a decade of collaboration between the Haena community and state regulators, the North Shore Community’s CBSFA rules were unanimously approved by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources in October 2014.

Shortly after, a petition for a contested case was submitted by Makani Christensen and Michael Sur. They argued the proposal would be an “unjust and unfair deprivation of our continued use.” They also contended the proposed plans in the Haena CBSFA are “arbitrary and capricious and are also not based on any data, scientific or otherwise,” and that they are “being deprived of part of our livelihood and the ability to feed our families.”

The Land Board ultimately denied the petition in December, and the rules were sent to Ige’s office for approval.

“The land and the ocean are life for the people,” said Thomas Hashimoto, a Haena-born master of traditional fishing and agriculture practices.

Hashimoto is a founding member of the nonprofit Hui Makaainana o Makana, which formed in 1999 as an advocate group for the creation of the Haena CBSFA.

“In Haena, from my great-grandparents time, we were taught to malama Haena, its lands, and especially its ocean areas,” he said. “I have been honored and humbled to share knowledge I received from my kupuna from past generations with all who live in Haena, so these same places that I have fished and gathered my whole life will continue to be here for my great-grandchildren and all future generations.”

The CBSFA sets a precedent for other communities across the state to manage their own local waters based on long-held sustainability practices of their choosing.

Erin Zanre, DLNR’s community-based subsistence fishing areas coordinator, said the CBSFA rules package is unique in that it requires communities to actually propose this type of designation, including a management plan, to the DLNR for consideration.

“The purpose of these areas is to protect the traditional and customary processes for the purpose of Native Hawaiian subsistence culture and religion, but you don’t necessarily need to be Native Hawaiian to be involved in these,” Zanre said.

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