Honolulu, Hawaii — Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced
a joint initiative between the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR),
Conservation International (CI), and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation (HKL
Castle) to increase enforcement that will help sustain Hawaii's nearshore
The initiative will create new Fisheries Enforcement Units, a priority
program of DLNR's Division of Conservation and Resources
Enforcement (DOCARE), on Maui, Hawaii and Kaua'i.
"Hawaii's ecological, economic, and cultural well-being depends on how well
we ensure these valuable marine stocks are responsibly fished and managed," said
Governor Abercrombie. "People all across our islands, no matter what their
perspective, have told me repeatedly that the key to protecting our fisheries is
effective enforcement of our laws. This wisdom is a cornerstone of the New Day
plan for environmental sustainability."
CI, an Arlington-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting Earth's biodiversity
and ecosystem, is supporting this initiative with a $2 million commitment and
HKL Castle, a Kailua-based nonprofit whose mission includes restoring Hawaii's
nearshore marine life, will provide $400,000. The Abercrombie Administration is
investing $1.1 million for this effort and intends to fully fund the program
after an initial four-year pilot program.
"If we take care of the ocean, the ocean will take care of us," said Terry
George, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of HKL Castle.
"This public-private partnership will help secure a future for Hawaii marked by
abundant fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems."
Healthy fisheries are important for local fishing communities. About 26
percent of households fish regularly, and majority of nearshore fishers are
non-commercial, according to a 2006 University of Hawaii Social Sciences
Research Institute study. Unsustainable coastal development and pollution,
along with a high volume of fishing activity, have led to the decline of 75
percent of Hawaii's nearshore fish population.
DOCARE is the enforcement arm of DLNR, whose 94 conservation and resource
enforcement officers statewide are responsible for all laws, rules and
regulations that fall under the DLNR.
"Our management priority is to protect our state's natural resources and to
enforce existing rules and laws in place for that purpose," said DLNR
Chairperson William J. Aila, Jr. "We will now be able to create specialized
units — initially on the neighbor islands — that will focus exclusively on
fisheries enforcement. The result will be significant improvement in fisheries
compliance, ultimately resulting in healthier fish stocks and increased seafood
security for island residents."
Each new Fisheries Enforcement Unit created as part of this initiative will
consist of one supervisory captain, two field officers, one educational
specialist and one administrative support position. The units will focus on
fisheries laws and policies. Each unit will have a boat, boat storage facilities
close to ocean entry points, and necessary maintenance and fuel budgets to
ensure adequate surveillance time on the water.
"Improved enforcement will benefit the majority of fishers that want to fish
responsibly and sustainably," said Melissa Bos, Director of the
Conservation International's Hawaii Fish Trust Program. "Working along
with the State of Hawaii and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, our goal is to
ensure that local communities have access to sustainable and locally caught
seafood for generations to come."
"The establishment of Fisheries Enforcement Units is a historic and
monumental step forward for the DLNR and Hawaii," said Randy K. Awo, Acting
DOCARE Enforcement Chief.
For more information on CI's Hawaii Fish
Trust program and HKL Castle, go to www.hawaiifish.org and www.castlefoundation.org.
For more information, contact:
Donalyn Dela Cruz
Governor's Press Secretary
DLNR Public Information Specialist
Director of Hawaii Marine Program
Note to editors:
Conservation International (CI) — 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, CI has
headquarters in the Washington, DC area, and nearly 900 employees working in
more than 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the
world. For more information, visit www.conservation.org, and
follow us on Twitter: @ConservationOrg or Facebook: www.facebook.com/conservation.intl