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EditPhoto Title:Bringing back fish for people in Hawai‘i
EditPhoto Description:CI revives traditional fish pond practices
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_24372653.jpg
EditImage Description:Hawaii fisherman
EditPhoto Credit:© Troy K Shinn/ www.troyshinn.com
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EditQuote Text (Do not add quotation marks):As fish pond farmers, our goal is to produce enough fish to share with our community...
EditQuote Attribution:Keli‘i Kotubetey, from Hawai‘i
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EditCircle color:fact--dark-blue    
EditCircle icon:C3Aicn-fish
EditResult value:28.5
EditResult field:pounds of fish
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The average person in Hawai‘i eats 28.5 pounds of seafood per year.

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EditResult value:63%
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Of all commercial seafood in Hawai‘i, 63% is from non-local sources.

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EditResult value:Keli‘i
Kotubetey
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Keli‘i Kotubetey is part of a growing movement to restore Hawai‘i’s fish ponds, which once provided millions of pounds of seafood to local communities.

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EditImage Alt Text:Free diver teaching youth how to sustainably harvest fish using a three-prong spear.
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Early Hawaiians had sophisticated fish pond aquaculture systems centuries before the arrival of Europeans.

“It took an entire ahupua‘a (traditional Hawaiian land division with hundreds of people) to build a fish pond,” explains Keli‘i Kotubetey, a native Hawaiian and longtime fish pond practitioner. Using the values and teachings of his ancestors, he’s working with CI to make fish pond revival a viable economic resource for his community.

“First we must re-establish healthy ecosystems that can support fish production in the ponds after centuries of neglect,” says Kotubetey. Filling the ponds with fish, however, is not enough. Because they sit in the coastal zone, the ponds are subject to many regulations and a complex permitting process. CI has worked with fish pond supporters at the state and federal levels to remove policy barriers and streamline the administrative process to lessen the burden.

“As fish pond farmers, our goal is to produce enough fish to share with our community,” says Kotubetey. “Unfortunately, the process from restoration to permitting to production is very costly. We’re thankful that CI is helping us develop good business models that help us achieve the production we need to support our community food goals. Our strong partnership with CI is a modern representation of laulima — or many hands working together.”

EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by S. Kēhaunani Springer
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      What are fish ponds and how are they used in Hawai’i? Take a closer look and learn more about this traditional — and sustainable — practice from Conservation International’s Luka Mossman.

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      More stories from the 2015 Impact Report:

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      EditCaption Title:Better coffee, better lives
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      EditImage Alt Text:Mama Churi in Tanzania, Africa. © Conservation International
      EditCaption Title:Providing insights for African farmers
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