DLNR Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit Works To Protect Coastal Marine Resources On Maui

Posted on Sep 4, 2013 in Announcements

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
News Release

NEIL ABERCROMBIE
GOVERNOR
WILLIAM J. AILA JR,
CHAIRPERSON

For Immediate News Release September 4, 2013

Joint News Release

Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit

DLNR COMMUNITY FISHERIES ENFORCEMENT UNIT
WORKS TO PROTECT COASTAL MARINE RESOURCES ON MAUI

KAHULUI – Since its launch in spring 2013, the first Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit (CFEU) in north Maui is receiving favorable comments from the public due to increased enforcement efforts to protect nearshore fisheries. Helped by the gift of a new vessel to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) from the Conservation International (CI) Hawaii Fish Trust and Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, the unit patrols a 13-mile stretch of north Maui coastline from Hulu Island to Baldwin Beach Park, extending three miles seaward.

“This Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit project is already showing us that an increased and regular DOCARE presence is helping to curb illegal activities that have the potential to hurt everyone, particularly our future generations, if our marine resources are left unprotected,” said Randy Awo, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) administrator

Three DOCARE officers — a Makai Watch coordinator, a program coordinator, and a data manager — comprise this first-of-its-kind specialized state unit. The hope is that additional units will eventually be established statewide.

“The CFEU officers focused their efforts on illegal netting activities via land and vessel patrols,” Awo said, “The officers’ ability to focus on a specific region of the coastline, both on land and sea, has allowed them to gain an intimate knowledge of the area, including its variety of fishing activities and users.”

A total of 12 citations have been issued so far, with an additional eight investigations initiated. One of the eight cases involving the fishermen check-in requirement was forwarded to the state Division of Aquatic Resources for review.

As part of the pilot project, increased patrols and surveillance were conducted at Kahului Harbor Fisheries Management Area, due to the presence of baitfish schools (mainly nehu and gold-spot herring). While on vessel patrol, officers have observed and issued citations for other violations, such as for diver safety flag requirements.

In other measures, officers retrieved two unattended illegal lay nets and one unattended illegal throw net. And, while off-duty, the CFEU Supervisor observed ongoing spear fishing violations and coordinated a DOCARE response. The violator was apprehended and cited.

“The new fisheries enforcement unit aims to increase public awareness about the importance of ocean conservation and pono fishing activities on Maui. It also sends a message that we are serious about protecting the marine resources of Maui,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson.

Community education is also a key component of DOCARE’s mission. Officers provided educational materials and interacted with free divers at the recent “Dive with Dad” tournament at Baldwin Beach Park. DOCARE has extended similar support at other fishing-related events in the past, including the Maui Roi Round-up, as a demonstration of their commitment to building a positive working relationship with marine resource users.

In June, CFEU Officers spoke with 12 high school students from across the state who were participating in Haleakala National Park’s Pohai Maile internship program. The interaction afforded the budding conservationists valuable insight to DOCARE’s mission and the CFEU project.

Officers also participated in Makai Watch meetings and teleconferences, which will soon lead to the completion of the volunteer component of the project. Makai Watch volunteers will be formally trained by CFEU officers and will help to provide public outreach and education to resource users as well as serve as the eyes and ears for DOCARE.

Fisheries Related Enforcement Statistics

  • Investigations – 8
  • Warnings – 0
  • Citations – 12, consisting of:
    • 3 – Prohibited lay nets
    • 2 – Undersize mesh throw nets
    • 2 – Undersize opihi
    • 1 – Undersize kumu
    • 1 – Undersized he‘e
    • 1 – Prohibited net Kahului Fisheries Management Area
    • 2 – Exceeding bag limit Fisheries Management Area
  • Arrests – 0
  • Administrative – One case involving fisher check-in requirement at the Kahului Harbor Fisheries Management Area was forwarded to Division of Aquatic Resources for administrative action.

Photos are available at https://plus.google.com/101613020396360217549?hl=en#photos/101613020396360217549/albums/5919578807256392129
Additional photos of the Kai’aiki launch event are available at https://plus.google.com/101613020396360217549?hl=en#photos/101613020396360217549/albums/5858270282407019249

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For more information, contact:
Deborah Ward, Public Information Specialist
Department of Land and Natural Resources
Phone: (808) 587-0320

About the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) – DOCARE effectively upholds the laws that serve to protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawaii nei.

DOCARE enforces Title 12, Chapters 6D, 6E, and 6K, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and any rules adopted thereunder. The authority of enforcement officers, who have full police powers delegated by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, includes enforcing all laws relating to natural, cultural and historic resources under the Department’s jurisdiction, which spans from the top of the mountains to three miles out to sea. This jurisdiction encompasses nearly 1.3 million acres of State lands, beaches, and coastal waters, as well as 750 miles of coastline (the fourth longest in the country). It includes state parks, historic sites, forests and forest reserves, aquatic life and its sanctuaries, public fishing areas, boating, ocean recreation, and coastal programs, wildlife and its sanctuaries, game management areas, public hunting areas, and natural area reserves. More information can be found at www.dlnr.hawaii.gov or on Facebook.

About Harold K.L. Castle Foundation – Founded in 1962, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation works to build resources for Hawaii’s future by investing in promising initiatives and organizations through grant making, using our convening power, and introducing and spreading new ideas and approaches to help solve some of Hawaii’s most pressing problems. Specifically, our mission is to: Close the achievement gap in public education so that all of Hawaii’s children, regardless of their socioeconomic background, have access to and benefit from high-quality education; Restore Hawaii’s nearshore marine life populations so that future generations can benefit and learn from this rich natural resource; Build on the strengths of Windward Oahu communities through investments that support the region’s rich cultural legacy, its youth and families, and its natural resources; and, Invest in a limited number of other unforeseen but compelling opportunities to make a big difference in Hawaii’s future. For more information, please visit www.castlefoundation.org or on Facebook or Twitter.

About Hawaii Fish Trust, a program of Conservation International (CI)Ho‘i i ke kai momona: return to an abundant ocean. The goal of Conservation International’s (CI’s) Hawaii Fish Trust is to restore seafood security in Hawaii. To accomplish this goal, CI is working to transform Hawaii’s nearshore fisheries governance, from the State of Hawaii’s ability to enforce regulations to the capacity of fishers and communities to participate in the stewardship and management of their vital fisheries, to the development of a viable Hawaiian fishpond aquaculture industry.

Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the long term well-being of people. Founded in 1987 and marking its 25th anniversary in 2012, CI has headquarters in the Washington DC area, and 900 employees working in nearly 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world. For more information, For more information, please visit at www.conservation.org/hawaiifishtrust, or on Facebook or Twitter.