Malama Pupukea-Waimea, a volunteer-based environmental organization founded in 2005 to protect and restore the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District on Oahu’s North Shore, is among five recipients of the first-ever PURE awards for nonprofit groups from the World Surf League, the international surfing promoter was due to announce today.
In celebration of Earth Day, the monetary grants were bestowed on organizations whose work aligns with WSL’s We Are One Ocean campaign, which is calling on world leaders to protect and conserve at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030, as part of the international initiative 30×30.
“No sport relies on the ocean as much as surfing, and it’s our responsibility to work to protect it for future generations,” said WSL CEO Erik Logan. “Malama Pupukea-Waimea has a great vision on how to engage the community with the marine life conservation district on Oahu’s North Shore, and we are proud to have played a small role.”
“For us this WSL grant is a substantial boost, and we are super thrilled, honored and inspired to see surfers, conservationists, businesses and world leaders moving together to perpetuate the oceans’ abundance,” said Denise Antolini, a board member of MPW, which conducts conservation and public education projects in the 100-acre marine life conservation district extending from the tide pools at Kapoo, or Sharks Cove, along the shore to and encompassing Waimea Bay.
“It’s also great synchronicity with the state Division of Aquatic Resources’ Holomua Marine 30×30 Initiative,” Antolini said, noting MPW will use the award to establish a management plan for the conservation district in partnership with DAR, which will use MPW’s program as a model for other marine life conservation districts throughout the state.
“We will be the exemplar, provide the community engagement framework,” she said.
According to the website of DAR, part of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Marine 30×30 Initiative focuses on developing and strengthening the essential components of effective management, including development of a resilient marine managed area network, statewide fisheries rules, outreach and enforcement strategies, monitoring and restoration.
“One of our goals is to extend our conservation network, get the community to take on the kuleana to use the area responsibly,” Antolini said, noting, for example, that fishing is not allowed at Pupukea Beach Park but shoreline pole fishing is allowed at Waimea Bay.
Jenny Yagodich, MPW director of educational programs, said native Hawaiian fishing values encourage “self imposed rules based on spawning cycles, moon phases, what a particular fish eats, and when is that food supply also spawning and developing.”
She added, “We’ve been teaching marine science for youth for 10 years, and for the management plan we’ll ask them what they think key threats and solutions may be.”
MPW will hire two young people with deep roots in the local community, Antolini said, interview kupuna and key partners, including city lifeguards and the staff at Waimea Valley, and hold at least two open community meetings.
“The PURE grant program allows us to deepen our connection to communities where the WSL holds events across the world,” said Emily Hofer, executive director of the program.
Some of the PURE funds will also support continuing coastal restoration projects around the perimeter of Sharks Cove, Yagodich said, “where we’ve taken out tons of invasives and planted native plants, which do a better job at keeping erosion, from the ocean and harming coral reefs.”
Antolini also extended thanks to Patagonia, whose Haleiwa store in 2020 provided the first grant supporting MPW’s proposal for its management plan.
“The stars kind of all aligned in terms of what we felt we needed to move forward, with these grants and the state’s 30×30 priority.”
She added DAR’s internal deadline is the end of the year for creating draft management plans for the state’s nearly 60 marine life conservation districts, “so this is an urgent timeline we’re on in year one,” while further refinement and community engagement would continue in 2022.
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