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EditPhoto Title:CI Hawai‘i
EditPhoto Description:Merging traditional Hawaiian resource knowledge with innovative Western science and conservation tools
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_24372653.jpg
EditImage Description:Hawaii fisherman
EditPhoto Credit:© Troy K Shinn/ www.troyshinn.com
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Ho‘i i ke kai momona: return to an abundant ocean.


This statement sums up the purpose of Conservation International's Hawai‘i program, which is to restore nearshore seafood security for the well-being of Hawai‘i and its people.



Our role

CI Hawaiʻi partners with local fishing communities, businesses, nonprofit organizations and the state of Hawai‘i to facilitate the sustainable management of Hawaiʻi's nearshore fisheries.


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Edit Item Title:Enable fishermen and local communities to protect their ocean resources
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CI Hawaiʻi has supported fisheries management initiatives and family fishing camps in 12 fishing communities on six Hawaiian islands.

Empowering communities to manage their marine resources works because the people who depend most on the resources have the best understanding of them and can manage them accordingly. We also work with youth to develop the next generation of pono (responsible) fishermen, through our lawai‘a ‘ohana (family fishing) camps, which reconnect children with the ocean and the traditional ecological knowledge of their elders.

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Edit Item Title:Foster effective fisheries governance
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In a 2013 baseline study, 73% of fishermen statewide said it was unlikely they would be caught for violating fishing laws.

CI Hawai‘i partners with the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and the state of Hawai‘i to transform fisheries management statewide. The partnership launched an innovative fisheries enforcement unit in 2013, designed to work hand in hand with the local community on Maui. CI also supports initiatives within the Department of Land and Natural Resources, including the Makai (Ocean) Watch volunteer program.

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Edit Item Title:Promote sustainable production and consumption of local seafood
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Prior to Western contact, Hawaiians developed coastal fish pond aquaculture systems that supplied up to 2 million pounds of fish per year.

Most historic fish ponds in Hawai‘i are no longer in active production. CI Hawai‘i addresses critical barriers to restoring fish pond production and distribution by streamlining the fish pond restoration permitting process. CI is partnering with Ulupono Initiative, Oceanic Institute and fish pond operators to develop a fish pond production business model.

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EditImage Alt Text:Manini school swimming off Oahu
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:> 50 community partners
EditText:CI Hawai‘i has forged partnerships with more than 50 community groups, local nonprofits, government agencies and other partners. It has also funded over 36 grants across the state, totaling $1.8 million, to increase access to sustainable and locally caught seafood.
EditPhoto Credit:© Frazer McGilvray
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      EditSection Title:Our Work, in Art
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        EditImage URL: /SiteCollectionImages/hawaii-fish-trust.png
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        The artwork was created by Kalahoʻohie, a traditional Hawaiian practitioner and subsistence fisherman and farmer. He is the Kahu of Hale o Lono fish pond in Honohononui and has dedicated his life to the perpetuation of the people, culture and natural resources of his island home.

        The design depicts the legendary fishhook Manaiakalani. Manaiakalani was once used by Maui (a Hawaiian demigod) in an attempt to unite the islands. The use of this ancient mystic symbol calls for the islands to unite in an effort to manage their resources. The 'umeke, or calabash, depicted in the design represents the idea of food security. Through proper management of resources, the 'umeke will remain full in perpetuity. Lastly, the cordage, or aho, depicted in the design represents the connection we have with our environment and all living things within our environment. This connection is the foundation for the Hawaiian creation chant known as the Kumulipo.

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          EditSection Title:Pacific Connection
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            EditText: Located in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, the CI Hawaiʻi is CI’s only U.S.-based field program. Hawaiʻi’s strategic location provides cultural, political and ancestral ties to our partners across the Pacific, extending CI’s Pacific Ocean leadership. Hawaiʻi is home to more than 7,000 forms of marine life, one quarter of which are found nowhere else on Earth.
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              EditSection Title:Seafood Security in Hawai‘i
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                EditImage Description: Keiki (children) show off their limpets, called opihi in Hawaiian.
                EditText: More than 90% of people in Hawaiʻi eat seafood on a regular basis, consuming three times more seafood per capita than the U.S. mainland. Yet 63% of seafood purchased in Hawaiʻi is imported. CI Hawaiʻi is leading a bold effort to ensure fishing and sustainable local seafood in Hawaiʻi for generations to come. We foster effective fisheries governance. We build the capacity of fishing communities to participate in the management process. And we promote the sustainable production and consumption of local seafood.
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                EditPhoto Credit:© Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi Inc.
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                  EditSection Title:Timeless Sustainability Knowledge in Action
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                    Edit Image Description: Coral in the Hawaiian Islands
                    EditText: CI Hawaiʻi promotes a holistic, fishermen-led approach that merges traditional Hawaiian cultural values and resource management systems with innovative Western science and management practices to revive ocean health and seafood security in Hawaiʻi. Early Hawaiians sustained abundant coral reef fisheries and sophisticated fish pond aquaculture systems for four centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans. Traditional Hawaiian governance was characterized by techniques that effectively protected reef habitats and maintained healthy fish populations. Recent studies have demonstrated that these time-honored practices, coupled with Western science, increase target fish species biomass as effectively as modern no-take areas.
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                    EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Kehau Springer
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                      EditSection Title:Aloha ʻĀina: A Sense of Place
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                        Edit Image Description: Kumu John Kapono‘aikaulikeikeao Molitau and an attendee greet each other at the boat blessing.
                        EditText: Fishermen in Hawaiʻi have nurtured their families and communities by supplying them with seafood for generations. CI Hawaiʻi partners with fishermen who have deep and nuanced knowledge of their local marine resources to capture essential fishing data and to map fish flow from hook to fork. Employing fishermen with generational knowledge of their community fishery to spearhead these research efforts leads to increased data capture, improved data accuracy and increased participation of surveyed fishermen in future stewardship, planning and management efforts to revitalize and safeguard their nearshore fisheries.
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                        EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Gavin Tanouye
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                          EditSection Title:The Time is Now
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                            Edit Image Description: Steward of the Sea t-shirt
                            EditText: The goal of the CI Hawaiʻi is to hoʻi i ke kai momona — or return to an abundant ocean that will feed Hawaiʻi’s people for generations to come. We are working to develop the enabling conditions for historic change in Hawaiʻi’s nearshore fisheries governance, from the state of Hawaiʻi’s ability to enforce regulations to the capacity of fishermen and communities to participate in the stewardship and management of their vital fisheries. We are in an “open moment” – when societies come to together and real change is possible – for ocean health in Hawaiʻi. The time to act is now.
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                            EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Gavin Tanouye
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                            EditDefault Title:Using Hawaiian Traditions to Improve Fisheries[Optional]
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                              More of Our Work Links

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                              First Image

                              EditTitle:Climate
                              EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_30785027.jpg
                              EditLink:/what/Pages/Climate.aspx
                              EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada

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                              EditTitle:Science and Innovation
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                              EditImage Alt Text:Scientists set a camera trap. © Benjamin Drummond

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                              EditTitle:The Ocean
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                              EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse