Restrictions On Gillnet Fishing Proposed

Peter Young, DLNR
Peter Young, DLNR
Ken Broal, Gillnet Fisherman
Ken Broal, Gillnet Fisherman

(KHNL)  It's a way of life for many Hawaii residents, but the state says it needs to restrict gillnet fishing to ensure there are fish for future generations.

Fisherman object, saying it's a means of supporting their families.

One of those who fish to help feed her family contacted us through KHNL News 8's "Talk Story" line.

With his grandson's first birthday this weekend, Vanny Kamakaala sets out to catch fish for his guests.

Vanny and friend Ken Broad unraveled their gillnets Monday.

DLNR's Peter Young wants to hear from you on a proposal to impose bans and restrictions on gillnets.

"We have heard a variety of things from a number of people regular fisherman who say we really need to stop this type of fishing now," said Young.  "It is destructive. Nets can get entangled in coral. Nets can entangle endangered species."

Recently dozens of baby hammerhead sharks were believed to have been caught in someone's gillnet.

"When this kind of fishing is done responsibly by-catch can be eliminated all together," said gillnet fisherman Ken Broad

Most everyone agrees there needs to be regulation.

"We are not calling for a ban on gillnet fishing," said Young.  "We are calling for further regulation what it is an extension of gillnet task force."

"Where people live they fish the ocean for fish to eat. Some people use commercial to sell. That is how they sustain their lifestyle. We fish basically to eat the fish," added Broad.

Under the proposal, gillnet fishing would be banned on Maui and in Kailua, Kaneohe and Moanalua Bays.

"You look at what they do in those areas, all about commercial activities," explained Broad.  "Far as I know people been fishing in those bays before they came up with commercial activity."

An emotional issue up for discussion.

"What we have heard from people is that the gillnet fishing technique is more traditional that it is generations rather than cultural," said Young

Melanie Hiram says that is not so.

"Our family tradition is to lay out net basically perform hukilau," expalined Hiram.  "All the family pai pai the water and scare fish into net - something that all the family, cousins, grandparents participated in.  Whatever came out of the net is what the family feasted on."

Gillnet Public Hearings are Tuesday, July 18 at 6pm.

Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria, Kane'ohe, O'ahu

Kalani High School Cafeteria, Honolulu, O'ahu

Leihoku Elementary School Cafeteria, Wai'anae, O'ahu

Hilo High School Cafeteria, Hilo, Hawai'i

Lihikai School Cafeteria, Kahului, Maui