Empowering Hawaiians: New Boat Launches to Safeguard Seafood Security


State Of Hawaii, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, And’s Hawaii Fish Trust Join To Launch New Fisheries Enforcement Vessel For Maui Community

Kahului, Hawaii/Arlington, Va. – At a public open house event today, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Conservation International (CI) Hawaii Fish Trust, and Harold K.L. Castle Foundation gathered for the ceremonial blessing of a boat gifted from CI to the State of Hawaii for the first Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit in Hawaii. Set to launch by spring 2013 as a pilot project, this North Maui unit, operating under DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), will cover a 13-mile stretch of coastline fromHulu Island to Baldwin Beach Park, extending three miles seaward.  

“Mahalo to CI Hawaii Fish Trust and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation for investing in our state and people of Hawaii to help us pilot this innovative and exciting program, which will transform our capacity to steward and manage our marine resources,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui. “Community Fisheries Enforcement Units will eventually be permanent and essential components of DLNR and DOCARE’s work across the state.

“On behalf of Governor Neil Abercrombie and myself – and on behalf of the Maui community as someone raised here on the island – it is my pleasure to accept the gift of this enforcement vessel from Conservation International. We look forward to the benefits that a return to more abundant fisheries can bring to our community, and especially to our local fishers. Innovative public-private partnerships like this one between the state, Harold K.L.Castle Foundation, Conservation International, and the community of North Maui are critical components for achieving the goals of our New Day Plan.”

The Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit program addresses several aspects of the Abercrombie Administration’s New Day Plan:


  1. Rebuild confidence in government and how tax dollars are spent: Develop stronger partnerships; make government lead by example;
  2. Restore capabilities of and public confidence in the Department of Land and Natural Resources; and
  3. Increase self-reliance and protect our resources: grow our own food (increase local food production and consumption); advance sustainable tourism and development.


“This event has been an excellent way to engage the Maui fishing community and broader Hawaii public with an opportunity to learn about the new Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit model, how it will support the local community, and about other ocean conservation and pono fishing activities on Maui,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. 

Traditional fishing and gathering practices are important components of a thriving Hawaiian culture.  More than 90 percent of people in Hawaii consume seafood on a regular basis and average seafood consumption is 45 pounds per person per year, or three times the average per capita seafood consumption on the U.S. mainland. Currently, it is estimated that at least 74 percent of nearshore fish stocks in Hawaii are depleted or in critical condition.

“CI’s Hawaii Fish Trust program is invested in restoring seafood security in Hawaii, and returning to an abundant and healthy ocean that sustains high yields of seafood for generations to come,” said Jason Philibotte, the director of the Hawaii Fish Trust for CI. “We are pleased to gift this boat to the people of Hawaii and the North Mauicommunity in particular, and are excited for the upcoming launch this spring of the Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit.”

“This initiative project focuses on the protection of our near shore fisheries through community collaboration and the creation of enforcement models that are more focused and efficient,” said Randy Awo, DOCARE Administrator. “Three DOCARE officers, a Makai Watch coordinator, a program coordinator, and a data manager will comprise this specialized unit. Additional units will eventually be established statewide.”

“Harold K.L. Castle Foundation support for this initiative came about because one of the greatest issues facing our oceans today is lack of education for those who don’t know, and lack of enforcement for those who don’t care,” said Eric Co, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation. “In the face of many enormous needs in the state and not nearly enough funds to address them all, we are left only to do the best with what little we have. DLNR is absolutely doing their best, but with limited resources it isn’t enough.

 “The Foundation is excited to join in funding this effort across an unprecedented public-private partnership so that DLNR may strengthen its ability to safeguard our precious ocean resources.  We expect no compensation, only the promise of healthier oceans and healthier communities in our future.” 

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DNLR Map.png

Image Credit: CI Maps


Video clips of event available upon request.

Community Fishery Enforcement Unit Fact Sheet​

Hawaii Fish Trust Fact Sheet

Kai'Aiki Frequently Asked Questions

DOCARE Frequently Asked Questions


For more information, contact:

Deborah Ward, Public Information Specialist

Department of Land and Natural Resources

Office 808-587-0320


Kevin Connor, Media Manager

Conservation International

Office +1 703 341 2405/ mobile +1 571 232 0455/ email: kconnor@conservation.org


About the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) - DOCARE effectively upholds the laws that serve to protect, conserve and manage Hawaii’s unique and limited natural, cultural and historic resources held in public trust for current and future generations of visitors and the people of Hawaii nei.

DOCARE enforces Title 12, Chapters 6D, 6E, and 6K, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and any rules adopted thereunder.  The authority of enforcement officers, who have full police powers delegated by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, includes enforcing all laws relating to natural, cultural and historic resources under the Department’s jurisdiction, which spans from the top of the mountains to three miles out to sea.  This jurisdiction encompasses nearly 1.3 million acres of State lands, beaches, and coastal waters, as well as 750 miles of coastline (the fourth longest in the country).  It includes state parks, historic sites, forests and forest reserves, aquatic life and its sanctuaries, public fishing areas, boating, ocean recreation, and coastal programs, wildlife and its sanctuaries, game management areas, public hunting areas, and natural area reserves. More information can be found at www.dlnr.hawaii.gov or on Facebook.

About Harold K.L. Castle Foundation - Founded in 1962, the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation works to build resources for Hawaii's future by investing in promising initiatives and organizations through grant making, using our convening power, and introducing and spreading new ideas and approaches to help solve some of Hawaii's most pressing problems.  Specifically, our mission is to: Close the achievement gap in public education so that all of Hawaii's children, regardless of their socioeconomic background, have access to and benefit from high-quality education; Restore Hawaii's nearshore marine life populations so that future generations can benefit and learn from this rich natural resource; Build on the strengths of Windward Oahu communities through investments that support the region's rich cultural legacy, its youth and families, and its natural resources; and, Invest in a limited number of other unforeseen but compelling opportunities to make a big difference in Hawaii's future. For more information, please visit www.castlefoundation.org or on Facebook or Twitter.

About Hawaii Fish Trust, a program of Conservation International (CI)Ho‘i i ke kai momona: return to an abundant ocean.  The goal of Conservation International’s (CI’s) Hawaii Fish Trust is to restore seafood security in Hawaii. To accomplish this goal, CI is working to transform Hawaii’s nearshore fisheries governance, from the State of Hawaii’s ability to enforce regulations to the capacity of fishers and communities to participate in the stewardship and management of their vital fisheries, to the development of a viable Hawaiian fishpond aquaculture industry.

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 and marking its 25th anniversary in 2012, CI has headquarters in the Washington DC area, and 900 employees working in nearly 30 countries on four continents, plus 1,000+ partners around the world.  For more information, For more information, please visit at www.conservation.org/hawaiifishtrust, or on Facebook orTwitter