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Hawaii fishermen say development is hurting reefs

By Audrey McAvoy

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:42 a.m. HST, Jun 18, 2013

Hawaii fishermen asked policymakers to address how runoff caused by land development harms reefs, fisheries and oceans when they consider how to cope with the effects of climate change.

Ocean health can't be looked at in segments, Oahu fisherman Roy Morioka told a committee of the federal body responsible for managing fisheries around Hawaii and other parts of the western Pacific region.

Government officials need to take a comprehensive approach, Morioka told a Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council committee on ecosystem management in Hawaii Monday.

"You need to pull it all together. Because not one thing is the issue, it's a collective thing that is the issue," Morioka said.

Carl Jellings, of Waianae, told the committee that fishermen are often told reefs are unhealthy because of overfishing. Fishermen like him are scapegoats, he said.

He argued that what happens on land is one cause of deteriorating reefs. But he says fishermen can't control what happens "up mauka."

"We fight every day so we can continue fishing. It's getting harder and harder because more things are happening in the environment that we're getting blamed for," Jellings said.

The fishermen spoke at the council's Regional Ecosystem Advisory Committee for Hawaii fisheries.

The council heard from scientists about how temperatures are rising globally while locally rainfall has been declining. They heard how open ocean species like tuna may adapt better as oceans warm because they can move around. Species like coral that stay in place, may have a harder time adapting.

Committee members also heard about how rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — as humans burn more fossil fuels — are making the ocean more acidic.

Brad Warren, of the global nonprofit organization Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, told the committee ocean acidification affects how marine life and fisheries stocks grow, and this introduces greater uncertainty for fisheries managers.

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h20dragon wrote:
Thanks for speaking out for all of us Carl. Not only are we not looking at the entire picture when we continue to allow things to happen on land, we are really tacitly allowing out environment to deteriorate. I hate hearing folks who like development talk about the high cost of fish, etc. when they don't even know they are also part of the problem in causing problems with maintaining our fishing grounds and keeping our stock healthy so that fish and sea food will be available in the future.
on June 17,2013 | 05:13PM
OldDiver wrote:
Won't be taking anything fishermen say seriously until they support an island wide ban on lay nets, fishing licenses and a ban on night suba spearfishing.
on June 17,2013 | 06:42PM
star08 wrote:
Studies show that at least 30% of air pollution ends up in coastal waters. Cigarette butts, plastic bags, runoff from developments, dust from brake pads and tires, fluids from leaky cars, pesticides and herbicides, viruses and bacteria from spittle and other human emissions all end up in the ocean. Honolulu does not regularly sample ocean or stream waters most likely because such knowledge would negatively effect the tourism industry. Our connection to the shoreline, to the ocean, to the waters of this land has been severed by an industrial grid development. It erased the mauka-makai ahupua`a management practices of the native peoples.
on June 17,2013 | 05:15PM
Mythman wrote:
you forgot sun tan lotion and sun screen. thank god the fishermen are sounding off on this catastrophe. Not only fishing depends on the reef, our entire tourism industry depends on it. What happens off shore is connected to the karsts on shore too, and this is connected to any development that pierces the aina as a support to go up. Who decides when enough is enough? A&B and KSBE already have billions upon billions in the bank - what do they need it for? To set and fund their own armies and navies, or what. Come on, now.
on June 17,2013 | 05:31PM
mbg60 wrote:
Where I walk the reefs, in South And East areas, the reef is all covered with silt. It's so bad that the marine life is now fighting for survival. The runoff in these areas in terrible. The holes in the reef that are supposed to house life are all filled with silt.
on June 17,2013 | 05:58PM
Grimbold wrote:
In Kaneohe the reefs are covered by algae because all large algae eating fish have been exterminated by fishermen.
on June 18,2013 | 03:27AM
Lanikaula wrote:
Scientists and studies have proven that: "the SOLUTION to POLLUTION is DILUTION!
on June 17,2013 | 06:26PM
dlum003 wrote:
The legacy of our stupid politicians, greedy developers, and juiced in contractors is a dead nearshore environment for our children. You can't buy back a healthy reef, once it is gone, it is gone forever.
on June 17,2013 | 06:43PM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Overfishing has hurt the reef and it's residents more than ANY development ever did. You can't keep every fish you catch, no matter what it's size is, and expect to have fish in the future. I'd say the biggest problems are Gill-netting that indiscriminately trap each and every fish that passes by. Sometimes I wonder what the DLNR does with our tax money. Goodness knows the odds of you getting checked by a warden is minuscule AT BEST. Until Hawai'i's fishermen start to treat our sea life with respect and restraint, fish populations in the Main islands will continue to crash.
on June 17,2013 | 06:48PM
lynnh wrote:
Though i do not use them, gill nets have been used for thousands of years all over the world. So now the recent decline in fish is the fault of the nets. I don't think so. Get a clue.
on June 18,2013 | 01:15AM
Grimbold wrote:
Lynnh, Gill nets were made by Hand laboriously and they rotted quickly. No People were ever able to have millions of miles of nets like now and costing practically nothing. The oceans are being raped by fishermen to feed a bloated population. Runoff is a tiny cause .
on June 18,2013 | 03:25AM
lynnh wrote:
S C R E W you. Why should we have to pay the state to fish? This it not a managed, restocked fresh water lake; it is the open ocean.
on June 18,2013 | 01:13AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
i would pay for a fishing license if the funds were used to enforce fish and game laws.
why not a license for oama, halalu, etc? i had to get a 3 day license to go salmon fishing in washington state.
on June 18,2013 | 04:48AM
6514623604 wrote:
II was born in Hawaii but moved to Minnesota some 43 years ago. I remember when I would spend days in Kaneohe bay fishing and the water was clear and fish were plentiful. I returned to Hawaii throughout my life and slowly watched the bay DIE! How sad is that ?.I always thought that all those "accidental" failures in the sewage system was the problem. This is not going to be fixed in my life time or at all. How Sad.
on June 18,2013 | 04:54AM
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