HAENA — Fish are on the rise in the Haena Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area, and a newly bestowed international award now props up a project that’s already being hailed a success.
The fishing area stretches from Haena to Wainiha, and was established by law in 2014. The state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved rules in October of that year, but they had been in the works for at least a decade prior.
Since then, the community has been working together under the leadership of Presley Wann and the Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana to manage the fishery in a traditional, sustainable manner.
And the fish are coming back.
“The recent surveys done in Haena’s Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area shows a slow but steady increase in fish biomass,” Wann told The Garden Island. “The only way it is working comes from the community’s involvement, commitment and individual sacrifice.”
More food is the measure of success for this project, however international accolades have thrown Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana in the spotlight as a recipient of the 2019 Equator Prize.
The United Nations prize is awarded every two years, and recognizes community efforts in biodiversity, conservation and sustainability.
Hui Malama o Mo‘omomi on Molokai also received the award. There were 22 communities worldwide awarded the 2019 Equator Prize.
Wann says winning the award “opens the door for other communities that have been in the same struggle,” and hopes it’ll inspire other communities in Hawaii, as well as worldwide, to invest in creative, sustainable food production.
Creating a community and traditionally-managed fishery in somewhere like Haena provides that example for other communities.
Some of the unique rules for the Haena Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area include the prohibition of fish feeding, taking live shells or empty shells while using SCUBA, spear guns, spearing at night, laying nets and selling marine life taken from within the area. Also against the rules are taking any sand, coral, rock or geological feature.
Within the fishing area, you can use pole spears that are eight feet in length or less, two fishing poles per person with no more than two hooks per line, throw nets, scoop nets — but not at night — and limu harvesting, but only by hand.
“Like Mo‘omomi, Haena is fairly isolated geographically,” Wann says. “I feel protection of the community’s natural resources from mauka to makai helps insure and protects the community’s health, independence and sustainability.”
Hui Maka‘ainana o Makana was nominated for the 2019 Equator Prize by Kua‘aina Ulu Auamo and Brianna Rose, with Hawaii Green Growth.
“We wouldn’t have had our success without them,” Wann said.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.