Children show off their limpets, called opihi in Hawaiian.
© CI/photo by Pa'a Pono Miloli'i
Historically, Hawai’i was a self-sufficient Polynesian voyaging culture deeply connected to the environment, successfully managing food resources through effective governance systems and the development of large-scale agriculture and aquaculture. Today, Hawai’i imports over 85% of its food. While the “locally grown” food movement in Hawai’i continues to gain momentum in the agricultural sector, fisheries are the forgotten factor in Hawai’i’s food security efforts.
Hawai’i depends on seafood for livelihood, sustenance and cultural practices. Traditional fishing and gathering practices are important components of a thriving Hawaiian culture. Over 90% of people in Hawai’i consume seafood on a regular basis, and average seafood consumption is 45 pounds per year, or three times the average per capita consumption on the US mainland. Hawai’i’s coral reefs are valued at $10 billion, with ocean-dependent businesses generating $4.8 billion annually.
Despite their tremendous value, marine resources in the main Hawaiian islands are critically threatened. It is estimated that pre-contact Hawaiians consumed up to ten times more seafood per capita than current seafood consumption in Hawai’i and at least 74% of nearshore fish stocks in Hawai’i are depleted or in critical condition. Coastal development, land-based pollution, and destructive and illegal fishing have significantly impacted fish populations, with far reaching social and economic effects.
The purpose of Conservation International’s Hawai’i Fish Trust is to restore nearshore seafood security through strategic partnerships and focused investment for the well-being of Hawai’i and its people.
- Increase the efficiency and effectiveness of nearshore fisheries enforcement
- Enhance community-based nearshore marine resource stewardship
- Develop innovative approaches to local and sustainable nearshore seafood production and distribution
Conservation International partners with local fishing communities, businesses, non-profit organizations and the State of Hawai’i to facilitate the sustainable management of Hawai’i’s nearshore fisheries.
- Implement “first of its kind in Hawai’i” Fisheries Enforcement Unit in partnership with the State of Hawai’i and the Harold KL Castle Foundation
- Support marine resource stewardship efforts in three local fishing communities
- Conduct feasibility analysis of fishpond aquaculture production
- Develop permaculture project on Lānaʻi to remediate reef sedimentation and enhance sustainable local agriculture
- Analyze strengths and weaknesses of the fisheries enforcement chain to inform future investments
- Promote traditional Hawaiian fisheries knowledge and pono (responsible) fishing practices