EXCLUSIVE: Leeward night fishermen want relaxed parking rules
NANAKULI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When the sun goes down, beaches up and down the Leeward coast are filled with night fishermen. That's when Ro Domondon catches ulua and other fish that swim close to the shoreline. His son, Jonathan, fishes with him.
"We're not here to start any trouble or anything like that. We're just here to catch fish and have fun and make some memories with the family," Domondon said.
But like everyone else, night fishermen must move their vehicles from Leeward beach park parking lots after 10 p.m. Police enforce the curfew that was set up to clear homeless and illegal campers from Leeward beaches
"From 10 o'clock in the evening they do a spot check, and they come and ask us to remove our vehicles," Gary Wong said.
He said that forces them to park sometimes a quarter of a mile away and lug heavy nets, buckets and poles back to their fishing grounds.
"Some poles don't break down so it's got to be tied to the top of the roof," Wong said. "When you transport them you got to run across the street with a 14-foot pole."
Police don't allow them to park on the ocean side of Farrington Highway, just the mountain side. Domondon said that's dangerous because many night fishermen bring kids along.
"The traffic is going by so fast on Farrington Highway, we got to worry about our kids going to the truck," he said.
"If it's out of sight, you don't know what's happening," Wong said. "I've had many friends that had their vehicles broken into."
At Wong's fishing supply store, a montage of photos of fishermen with their catch show how popular night fishing on the Leeward coast is, especially on weekends.
"I would like to have them leave the parking lots open because that's the best place to park," he said.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he won't relax the parking lot curfew, but fishermen may be able to park on the ocean side of Farrington Highway.
"We have confirmed that it's not a city park area so that is not closed at night," he said. "As long as the state Department of Transportation says it's okay to park in that right of way I'm okay with it."
"I wish they would come up with some kind of law where they can just let the fishermen be fishermen," Domondon said.
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