Proposed fishing rules threaten a way of life on Molokai’s north shore, residents say

Top stories from across Hawaii and around the world, as seen on the 6 p.m. news broadcast from Hawaii News Now.
Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 4:35 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Battle lines are being drawn over fishing rights on Molokai’s north shore as the state aims to crack down on catch limits.

Officials say it’s to keep the area from being over-fished.

But many residents argue the stricter regulations along the coast — between Ilio Point and Nihoa Flats — are threatening their way of life.

Geographically, Moomomi Bay is right in the middle.

The ride to the remote beach is a bumpy one but at the end of a red dirt road is a resource families say they rely on.

“I raised my children down here,” said Godfrey Akaka Jr., pointing out towards the water. “So now they are able to gather food, fish bring it home to the family.”

He’s not talking about commercial fishing, or sport fishing, but fishing for sustenance.

For generations, Moomomi Bay has provided for the people of this rural Molokai community, who don’t always depend on the island’s small grocery stores for food.

Now, some residents say shorter seasons and smaller bag limits are just some of the proposed rules on a two-page list threatening a way of life rooted in their culture.

“The state already has limits. We know that it’s not being depleted,” said Akaka. “We’re basically giving up our native gathering rights and turning it over to the state and allowing them to manage.”

Signs opposing the Moomomi Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area dot the island’s main road. But not everyone’s against it.

The idea was initially pitched to the state years ago by members of this very community.

Officials at the Department of Land and Natural Resources said they support the proposal, “as part of its mission to enhance, protect conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historical resources.”

The agency will hold a statewide online public hearing on the proposed rules Wednesday.

This is page 1 of the proposed regulations.
This is page 1 of the proposed regulations.(DLNR)
This is page 2 of the proposed rules.
This is page 2 of the proposed rules.(DLNR)

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.