Community-based fishing area proposed for Moloka‘i

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island file

    The Ha‘ena Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area stretches from Wainiha to Ha‘ena.

LIHU‘E — Moloka‘i is following in the footsteps of the Ha‘ena community on Kaua‘i’s North Shore, working to create the Mo‘omomi community-based subsistence fishing area pn the island’s northwestern coast.

An online public hearing is scheduled for the topic on Wednesday, Aug. 19, where oral public comments will be accepted. Public comments are is being accepted until Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The goal of the CBSFA is to establish a marine managed area to maintain sustainable long-term harvest of key subsistence fish stocks, and to reaffirm traditional and customary Native Hawaiian subsistence fishing practices. The proposed CBSFA extends from ‘Ilio Point in the west to Nihoa Flats in the east, from the shoreline out to approximately one mile offshore.

Brian Neilson, administrator of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, said, “This innovative option of an online hearing, especially with the spike in coronavirus infections, provides a safe and appropriate physical distancing for DLNR/DAR to hear from everyone regarding these important nearshore marine resources. The ability to harvest and provide food in a sustainable manner is critical especially in these current times.”

In the Ha‘ena CBSFA, community members work with the DLNR to manage the area, and different rules apply to fishing in that area.

The proposed rule changes for the Mo‘omomi CBSFA are similar to those in Ha‘ena — changes to Hawai‘i Administrative Rules that would establish new bag limits, size limits, seasonal closures and/or gear restrictions for uhu, kumu, kole, moi, spiny lobster, ‘opihi and limu; prohibit night diving and scuba spearfishing; prohibit commercial fishing, with exceptions for bottom fishing for deep-seven bottom fish, and trolling for all species.

The changes would also establish special regulations to minimize disturbance of the marine environment in Kawa‘aloa Bay.

“This is just one example of how we can meet the governor’s goal to effectively manage at least 30% of nearshore marine waters of the Main Hawaiian Islands by 2030,” said Luna Kekoa, CBSFA planner with DAR..”

Anyone interested can view a pre-recorded presentation describing the proposed rules, which will be made available for viewing via a link on the DAR website one week prior to the hearings.

Live video and oral testimony will be accepted via the internet or telephone at the online public hearing on Aug. 19 from 5:30 to 9:30 pm.

To sign up, email requests to: CBSFA@hawaii.gov or call (808) 347-0317 at least 48 hours in advance, and include a full email address, full name and phone number. A confirmation will be sent to with instructions, meeting link and call-in number.

The online public hearing may be viewed on the DAR website or Youtube.

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