Balancing act - News

Balancing act - News

There are 62 comments on the Honolulu Star-Bulletin story from Jan 12, 2009, titled Balancing act - News. In it, Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports that:

By some accounts the prized local fish known as uhu is on the ropes. Commercial fishing has risen, and recreational and subsistence consumers also value the uhu, or parrotfish.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

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Desert Rat

Dubai, UAE

#1 Jan 12, 2009
All reef fish in Oahu waters have declined significantly in population (past 30 years). Kumu and papio especially. Thats because immature fish are taken by shore fishermen and divers. Need to have a two year moratorium to allow populations to restore themselves. Then strong enforcement afterwards. Is state willing to finance this?
realmerv

Honolulu, HI

#2 Jan 12, 2009
Night spearfishing should be banned in Hawaii since the fish don't have a chance at all. Anyone spearing fish at night should be fined $1,000 per fish. And there should be a Bounty system established where people observing illegal activity can call a number, report it and share in the fine so that there will be many more eyes out there and this should act as a deterrent. A $500 minimum bounty will motivate many citizens to call and report illegal activity. We'll be able to catch the bad guys and save our fish supply.

It's more difficult to catch other illegal fishing but the same Bounty system could be applied.
willie

Plymouth, MI

#3 Jan 12, 2009
Actually Desert Rat taking immature fish is not as harmful as taking the mature breeding fish. You remove the breeders you don't have any immature fish to grow up. Spear fisherment seem to prize the bigger fish, size does seem to matter.
Old Man n The Sea

Honolulu, HI

#4 Jan 12, 2009
Recreational fishermen cannot singularly catch enough fish to deplete the stock. It's the commercial fishermen who scoop up as many as they can to fatten their wallets. Japanese call them hoito or butta.
Old Man n The Sea

Honolulu, HI

#5 Jan 12, 2009
When I was a young boy this old Hawaiian man told me, "boy you always throw the first fish you catch back to give thanks."

For thirty years, I followed his advice and threw the first one back even when it was once a twenty pound ulua. Then came the day when I caught this 1 pound papio and threw him back. I went home that day with an empty cooler.
jus talk

Ewa Beach, HI

#6 Jan 12, 2009
Eh, Old Man, that's a commendable practice. My grandpa told me never take more than you can eat that day. Unfortunately, plenty people could care less and take what they can, never mind tomorrow. Also, recreational fisherman CAN impact fish stock. You shoulda seen Waikiki when they lifted the moratorium. Then after a while you could see the difference in fish.

I think gotta have moratoriums and rotate them in different locations to allow fish to recover. Bag limits and size restrictions only help enforcement officers convict someone IF they happen to catch them. But gotta have laws or else the officers cannot do anything.

“Common sense - common man”

Since: Oct 08

Honokaa, HI

#7 Jan 12, 2009
Night spear-fishing is a slaughter, and anyone who does it knows this quite well. The uhu doesn't even move in the light of an underwater flashlight at night. It is pathetic. It is a slaughter.

Imua!
Niele2

Mililani, HI

#8 Jan 12, 2009
Don't wait for a consensus when the people you're polling have a vested interest in status quo!

For once, Hawaii/DLNR needs to have the guts to just do the right thing & institute bans. And maybe if they do the right thing once, it'll be easier next time.
Former Maui Resident

Pasadena, CA

#9 Jan 12, 2009
Old Man n The Sea wrote:
Recreational fishermen cannot singularly catch enough fish to deplete the stock. It's the commercial fishermen who scoop up as many as they can to fatten their wallets. Japanese call them hoito or butta.
"No, they can't singularly catch enough...but collectively, they do. All of the easily accesible spots from shore are overfished!
Jerry Okamura

Kaneohe, HI

#10 Jan 12, 2009
As a fisherman, I have two thoughts on the matter. The first has to do with native Hawaiian rights. Has anyone thought about what may happen, if Native Hawaiians say, they should be immune from any government restrictions on their fishing?

Second, to me it is basically a supply and demand problem. We have a problem because there are too many fishermen catching fish, which results in a declining fish population. I would think that is a function of population growth, more people, more fishermen, more fish caught. So, I wonder if anyone has givern any thought to how to increase the supply, i.e. the fish population? They do that in many parts of the United States, even in Hawaii, where fresh water fish are grown and released to artificilally increase the fish population. Why can't the same thing be tried for salt water fish? Now I suspect, that is easier said then done, but the way I look at this is you don't know if you can succeed, if you do not first try. And if you try hard enough, you just might succeed.
willie

Plymouth, MI

#11 Jan 12, 2009
"Why can't the same thing be tried for salt water fish?"

Funding. The states where they do restocking get the funds through license sales. Since Hawaii has no salt water license requirements they have no funds to run this program. Of course they could start a license program, bet that would be popular.

As I said, the best thing to do is limit the number of breeding fish taken. This is a proven method of preserving fish stocks. For Una say you can keep one fish over 18" and 5 between 10 and 14" with none over 26" allowed. You have to release the breeders. I realize this requires enforcement but if you make the fines heavy enough and catch a few people violating the law the word will get out.
Old Man n The Sea

Honolulu, HI

#12 Jan 12, 2009
Former Maui Resident wrote:
<quoted text>
"No, they can't singularly catch enough...but collectively, they do. All of the easily accesible spots from shore are overfished!
See you agree with me. Before you disagree you should all read carefully. It's all in the semantics -- singularly. Just like when you fish you should THINK! Never take more than you need.

I no longer fish because I don't want to eat what I catch -- to pilau.
Size Matters

Mililani, HI

#13 Jan 12, 2009
willie wrote:
Actually Desert Rat taking immature fish is not as harmful as taking the mature breeding fish. You remove the breeders you don't have any immature fish to grow up. Spear fisherment seem to prize the bigger fish, size does seem to matter.
It's true. Mature adults have way more productivity when it comes to eggs and sperm, and the bigger/older, generally the better. That's why size limits are actually backwards, in a way.
Size Matters

Mililani, HI

#14 Jan 12, 2009
willie wrote:
"Why can't the same thing be tried for salt water fish?"
Funding. The states where they do restocking get the funds through license sales. Since Hawaii has no salt water license requirements they have no funds to run this program. Of course they could start a license program, bet that would be popular.
As I said, the best thing to do is limit the number of breeding fish taken. This is a proven method of preserving fish stocks. For Una say you can keep one fish over 18" and 5 between 10 and 14" with none over 26" allowed. You have to release the breeders. I realize this requires enforcement but if you make the fines heavy enough and catch a few people violating the law the word will get out.
You're correct, but the problem would be enforcement, and that goes back to your "funding" argument. Right now there's little enforcement of ANY conservation laws due to lack of personnel. Anyone who's ever called in a violation could testify to that.
Size Matters

Mililani, HI

#15 Jan 12, 2009
Jerry Okamura wrote:
As a fisherman, I have two thoughts on the matter. The first has to do with native Hawaiian rights. Has anyone thought about what may happen, if Native Hawaiians say, they should be immune from any government restrictions on their fishing?
Second, to me it is basically a supply and demand problem. We have a problem because there are too many fishermen catching fish, which results in a declining fish population. I would think that is a function of population growth, more people, more fishermen, more fish caught. So, I wonder if anyone has givern any thought to how to increase the supply, i.e. the fish population? They do that in many parts of the United States, even in Hawaii, where fresh water fish are grown and released to artificilally increase the fish population. Why can't the same thing be tried for salt water fish? Now I suspect, that is easier said then done, but the way I look at this is you don't know if you can succeed, if you do not first try. And if you try hard enough, you just might succeed.
One way to increase fish populations would be to provide more/larger "no catch"/kapu Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). They also need to be permanent, versus the ineffective, on/off system used in Waikiki. I think they should just change the Waikiki area to off-limits permanently. It'll be good for tourism, and to me there's little point in simply letting the fish rebound each year, only to be completely wiped out the next. I understand the recreational benefits -- used to be a diver, fisherman -- but at some point we simply gotta bite the bullet and give nature a chance to recover. It's getting overwhelmed on too many fronts right now.

Re-stocking, as Willie notes, would be too costly, and difficult to keep species in balance. One other type of "MPA" would help -- restore Hawaiian fishponds, which can help to serve as protected areas for juveniles (catches can be managed).
willie

Plymouth, MI

#16 Jan 12, 2009
When there are no more fish enforcement will be a snap.
told u so

San Jose, CA

#18 Jan 12, 2009
Do people really eat parrotfish???
Thought that was considered garbage.
Same applies to Sargent fish.
Same for Tilapia.
pua

Kailua Kona, HI

#19 Jan 12, 2009
DLNR - shame on you for penalizing recreatonal divers and fishermen.

Put more regulation on the people
who commercial net these fish. Who
else knows what they are also netting
when they go and hoard all the fish.
Does DLNR check every harvest that
they bring in?

The recreational fishermen and divers
do not take anymore than they can eat.

It is the commercial people you need to
worry about. They net where they are not supposed to, they take what they are NOT supposed to, and they overtake their limits because it is their profits that they are netting for.

Then the residents get penalized for recreational fishing?

You overprotected the commercial fishermens and now the damage is done to the reef systems.

And, NOW, you penalize the recreational fishermen and divers....

WHO IS DLNR REALLY PROTECTING???? The commerical fishermen.

SHAME! SHAME! SHAME!
Surfbot

Mililani, HI

#20 Jan 12, 2009
No single act would do more for the restoration and preservation of inshore fish stocks than a total ban on the use of gill nets. Not only do they fish indiscriminately, killing unwanted species, turtles and mammals but their use is destructive to the reef habitat.
"Traditionalists" claim that they are perpetuating a traditional fishing technique, but that technique, gill netting, will ensure that there will be no resource available to future generations.
Gill net fishing rules and regulations are next to impossible to enforce so a total ban is the only solution.
Realization

Honolulu, HI

#21 Jan 12, 2009
Go to the fish market next to Nico's Eats at Pier 38. Those tuna fishes are way too small. They are preteenagers. We are killing off the species. The salmon nurseries are releasing the babies into the sea, but only a small percentage of them are returning for harvest. The sea is very sick, and you and I know why. Thank God I won't be around much longer.

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