HAENA — Residents in the North Shore community of Haena will most likely be teaming up with the state to manage the new Community-Based Fisheries Subsistence Area.
“We’re not working in silos anymore, this is a collaborative effort,” said Katie Nalesere, education specialist with the Division of Aquatic Resources. “We have the rules, now we have to make a framework for how we will manage this.”
The draft management plan was explained in a Tuesday night meeting at Kilauea School, where about 100 people met with members of various branches of Department of Land and Natural Resources. Representatives from the Kauai County Council and Gov. David Ige’s office were in attendance as well.
The CBSFA in Haena is the first of its kind in the state, signed into law by Ige in August. It includes state waters within the Haena ahupuaa, from the shoreline out one mile, and along the coast from the edge of Na Pali Coast Park to just east of Tunnels Beach.
“Other (communities) will want to follow,” said Tommy Oi, Kauai’s representative with the board of Land and Natural Resources. “We need to do everything possible to become a success.”
The rules establish a marine refuge consisting of all the waters within the fringing reef of Makua lagoon as a no entry subzone. They also create an “Opihi Management Area” within 300 feet of the shoreline, between the boundaries of Haena and Na Pali state parks.
The goal is to allow communities to address overfishing through traditional management practices in lieu of full control over the fisheries by the state.
“This isn’t about taking away rights, it’s about taking responsibility,” said Mehana Vaughan, Kauai resident who has worked to help establish the fishery for the past decade. “This place can feed you if you take care of it, and this effort is about taking care.”
Managing the CBSFA will be happening through the members of Makai Watch, which will be monitoring the area.
“It’s a community policing concept,” said Kawika Winter, the Makai Watch coordinator for Haena. “Trying to get compliance from the guy that’s violating the rules.”
Nalesere explained that Makai Watch will be providing a reporting mechanism for rule violations, but the group members will also be establishing a relationship between enforcement officers and the community.
“A relationship is the key beyond enforcement,” Nalesere explained.
The draft plan is an adaptive management plan and a living document, representatives from DLNR emphasized, and will be allowed to evolve with time as the situation at Haena changes. The plan is to review the rules and management at the five-year mark, and then again at 10 years.
Annual meetings will be held to discuss management activities.
“And the reward for all this will hopefully be more fish, and they’ll be easier to catch,” Nalesere said.
As the meeting swirled around overfishing management, North Shore resident Yoshi L’Hote said he needed to address “the elephant in the room, the 750,000 people who come to visit that reef.”
“When are we going to address the capacity for visitors,” L’Hote asked. “The impact of 750,000 visitors is greater than the fisherman.”
He likened the area to a valuable artifact in a museum that should be kept only on display for the public in order to keep it protected.
“I would like to see how to put Haena under glass and see the effect,” L’Hote said.
Nalesere and Winter said Makai Watch will be targeting the visitor industry with information and just “talking story” with everyone who visits Haena.
“The people that come here aren’t as familiar with the place,” Nalesere said. “We are doing educational outreach and then some passive things, like we’ll be putting up some signs.”
Winter agreed that the CBSFA and its management plan won’t be a fix-all for the Haena waters, but he said it’s a start.
“We’re under no illusions that this designation is going to fix everything,” he said.
Public comments were accepted at the Tuesday night meeting and are being added to the comments DAR has already received on the draft management plan. The next step is to finalize the plan.
To submit comments, send them to DLNR.firstname.lastname@example.org.