photo: Bert Weeks III

You have questions… we have answers!

What is the Holomua Marine Initiative?

The Holomua Marine Initiative is a call to action for communities to come together to design an island-based management strategy in partnership with the Divison of Aquatic Resources (DAR) to ensure healthy reefs and abundant resources for future generations.

What is the goal of the Holomua Marine Initiative?

The aim of the Holomua Marine Initiative is to ensure healthy nearshore ecosystems with abundant resources, so that the people of Hawai‘i can enjoy our coastal waters, support livelihoods, and feed our families.

What happened to “30×30?”

Holomua is dropping the 30×30 slogan and 30% target for the Holomua Marine Initiative. Frustrations and concerns with the 30×30 target overshadowed other important aspects of the Holomua Marine Initiative. While creating no-take areas to reach the 30% goal of marine management areas around each island’s nearshore waters by 2030 was NEVER the intention behind this initiative, the misinformation that was circulating prevented meaningful conversations about the need for effective management to achieve our shared vision of the future of our marine resources. The Holomua Marine Initiative WILL continue, and while creating a network of marine management areas encompassing 30% of each island’s nearshore waters is not a goal of this initiative anymore, it is still an option if that is of interest to communities. There is also a full suite of additional management tools that are available to support and continue the Holomua Marine Initiative, such as increasing education and outreach, strengthening monitoring efforts, establishment of bag or size limits, and more. Click HERE to read more and find out what will happen next with the initiative.

How did the Holomua Marine Inititive effort start?

In 2016, the State of Hawai‘i launched the Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative to protect our natural resources, promote sustainability, and increase Hawai‘i’s self-sufficiency.

Who is leading the Holomua Marine Initiative?

Holomua is a community-driven effort led by the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ (DLNR) Division of Aquatic Resources. As a member of the community and as part of specific ocean user groups, you can guide the design of your island’s marine management strategies, as well as the future health and use of Hawai‘i’s nearshore waters and its resources.

How is the Holomua Marine Initiative being funded?

The Holomua Marine Initiative is supported by state, federal, and philanthropic funds. You can find the ’22-’23 fiscal year budget HERE.

What is a Marine Management Area?

A marine management area, or MMA, is a place in the ocean that is managed in a way to protect the ecologically or culturally important marine resources within its boundaries.

Why do we need to manage our nearshore waters?

We need to manage our nearshore waters to restore and sustain Hawaiʻi’s marine ecosystems and biocultural resources. Our marine habitats are under pressure from a growing population, development, unsustainable harvest, climate change and more. The loss of traditional practices magnifies the decline. A recent scientific analysis revealed population declines of some of our favorite reef fish by as much as 75%, and the mass bleaching event in 2015 resulted in up to 50% coral mortality on some reefs. Click here to learn more about why we need to all work together to manage our nearshore resources and habitats.

What is place-based planning?

Place-based planning is a way of managing specific geographic areas by collaborating with communities of that place to understand the unique and diverse values, uses and experiences tied to the area. Through the Holomua Marine Initiative, DAR will engage with local communities on each island, along with scientific and cultural experts in an inclusive, transparent way that will help the people of Hawai‘i achieve effective management of our nearshore waters for healthy reefs, fish, and communities. DAR will collaborate with communities to evaluate existing marine management areas (MMAs), as well as plan and design marine management strategies to ensure healthy reefs and abundant resources for future generations.

How will the Holomua Marine Initiative incorporate social and cultural values or factors?

The Holomua Marine Initiatives’ community-driven effort will be guided by nine socio-cultural principles throughout the MMA network design and evaluation process to minimize potential negative impacts of MMAs on local and indigenous communities. Socio-cultural principles will be used to evaluate existing MMAs as well as identify potential areas for management based on social and cultural factors. The socio-cultural principles developed fall under four categories that include: Place-based Knowledge and Education; Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Wellbeing; Community Relationships, Engagement, and Commitment; and Efficacy and Equitable Governance. Read more about the socio-cultural design principles here.

How will current scientific research guide the Holomua Marine Initiative and planning process?

The Holomua Marine Initiatives’ community-driven effort will incorporate seven categories of ecological design principles into the process for reviewing existing MMAs and establishing new ones to achieve the best possible management outcomes. These design principles, developed by DAR biologists in collaboration with other researchers and other experts, are scientific guidelines which take into account key biophysical processes (including resilience to climate change), and will be used along with the socio-cultural design principles to guide the design of MMA networks. Read more about the ecological design principles here.

Are there local examples in Hawai‘i of successful marine management areas?

Yes, we are fortunate to have several local examples that show marine management areas work when effectively designed and managed. Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) on Maui is one example where the take of herbivore fish is prohibited but other fishing is allowed, and fisheries are now thriving through effective management. Within nine years of its implementation in 2009, the number of herbivores had dramatically increased, such as surgeonfishes ( up 71%) and parrotfishes ( up 331%). Click here to read more examples of successful marine management areas here in Hawai‘i.

What kind of data are being used to support this initiative?

To begin working towards place-based management, DAR gathered existing statewide data on biological resources, such as nearshore habitats and fisheries, the threats to them, and important human uses such as fishing and recreation. In addition to DAR monitoring data, recent surveys confirm that members of our community have also observed declines over the past several decades in many nearshore places, and perceive these changes will get worse if we don’t take action soon. “Effective management” is not possible based on scientific data alone. We need information from people on each island to identify locally-important resources and provide ideas about what kind of management strategies would work well for each area.

How will DAR monitor the effectiveness of these island networks?

To continue to fill data gaps and ensure coordinated data collection and reporting, DAR will create a comprehensive, standardized statewide monitoring plan that will examine ecological responses as well as social and cultural impacts as a result of this initiative to allow for informed and adaptive management.

Who decides which areas and regulations are included in the proposed island management strategies?

The Holomua Marine Initiative will be moving forward with planning and creating island management strategies to ensure healthy reefs and abundant resources for future generations. Holomua planning will be starting with Maui first in the fall of 2022. There will be several opportunities for everyone to participate in and contribute to the planning process for your island, including talk story sessions, online forms, participating in the Navigation Team and attending public scoping meetings. Please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, follow our social media accounts, or visit the website for the latest updates.

Have a question we haven’t answered?

ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia.

No task is too big when done together by all.

– Mary Kawena Pukui, ʻŌlelo Noʻeau #142

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