Fishing feud off Molokai leads to arrests and indictments
MOLOKAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A growing dispute between Oahu and Molokai fishermen leads to arrests and indictments.
Four Molokai men are out on bail Tuesday night accused of boarding a Honolulu boat and attacking everyone on board.
Floyd Kumukoa Kapuni, Kaiula Kalawe English, Robin Wainuhea Dudoit and Albert Keakahi Dudoit Jr. are all facing felony charges.
This comes after a confrontation between five Oahu divers in the waters off of Molokai in May.
The Oahu group was led by Dr. Daryl Wong who is well known for his diving and custom hand-crafted spear guns.
An indictment says the four Molokai men illegally entered their boat, robbed, threatened, and harassed them.
The state's Department of Land and Natural Resources says this is the first time a fishing dispute of this nature has led to felony charges in Hawaii.
"You can tell from the charges that the Oahu people certainly felt threatened," said Chairman for DLNR, William Aila.
However, local fisherman say tensions at sea between Honolulu and Molokai fisherman have been rising for years.
"This case really points to the need for people to realize we're running out of our resources and culturally were having clashes and the clash is, you just don't go into anybody's place because they need those resources to survive," said Molokai activist Walter Ritte.
Aila wants to send a strong message to the mariner community.
"The type of behavior that was exhibited by the Molokai boaters is not going to be tolerated by law enforcement in the state of Hawaii," said Aila.
Uli Makio is a fisherman on Oahu. He says he understands the frustration by the Molokai residents but says the waters off Oahu are all fished out.
"It's really frustrating, because like I said, 3-4 years ago that I came here, there was quite a lot of fish and now…" Makio said shaking his head.
Ritte says it's an on-going dispute and it's frustrating.
"The only reason why they're here is because they depleted their own resources and it's not fair for us on Molokai taking the brunt of everyone on Oahu coming here and taking our resources now their resources are gone," Ritte said.
Aila is encouraging Molokai residents to come forward with proposed regulations.
Ritte says they are trying to make community-based fishing areas to protect resources and still allow residents to make their catch.
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