Fishermen Speak Out About Gill Net Restrictions

Matthew Furtado
Matthew Furtado

(KHNL) Local fishermen and members of environmental groups Tuesday night voiced their opinion about the State's proposed restrictions for gill net fishing.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources began its first round of public hearings on the issue.

The majority of the fishermen we talked to oppose a ban, others feel some type of regulation needs to be in place.

Gill net fishing. It's a way of life for some, an environmental hazard to others.

"The reason why I support these is we have a drastic decline in the health of our coral reef fisheries and we don't have as many fish as we had in previous decades and we've got to do something," said Terry George

"The fish hasn't been depleted, because of net fishing because of spear fishing," said Adrian Keohokalole, who opposes the restrictions. "There's other resources the biggest to me is the sewer outflow in Kaneohe Bay in the early 60's."

The State is proposing to ban gill net fishing in waters off Maui and in parts of Kailua, Kaneohe, and Moanalua Bays.

It's also proposing some restrictions to prevent unwanted fish and endangered species from getting entangled in the nets.

Matthew Furtado says he fishes responsibly, but knows others do not and that's where he says the restrictions are needed .

"I'd say there's a big problem with people not observing the four hour soak time and not taking their nets out of the water," said Furtado. "That just kills everything. I once picked up a turtle out there and brought it out here it was tangled in the net."

But Eha Rosete fears implementing a partial ban would lead to an entire ban of what he calls a family tradition.

"I oppose restricting the whole thing altogether because it's our livelihood, it's the Hawaiian way it's the culture we have to do it because we've been doing it for many generations," Rosete told us.