Papahanaumokuakea Expansion

SUBHEAD: Hawaii and international law recognizes and protects "Subsistence Fishing" not "Sustenance Fishing".

By Mililani Trask on 6 August 2016 in Island Breath -

Image above: Painting of traditional Hawaiian fishing by Herb Kane. From (

There was no mistake made by the Environmentalists, Isaac Harp or Marjorie Ziegler when it comes to "Subsistence fishing" for Hawaiians in the Monument.

We worked on this for years BEFORE the Monument was finally created in 2006. When discussions first arose the feds did not believe what fishermen and kupuna were saying about the necessity of including the traditional Hawaiian resource users/managers.

The Feds had no background in this area and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other federal agencies did not want to work with Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Council (WESPAC) and felt that the WESPAC was too local and Hawaiian oriented.

[IB Publisher's note: WESPAC is a subsidiary of NOAA, and NOAA is a subsidiary of the US Department of Commerce.]

I was at the United Nations at the time and had brought out some of the work we were doing at the UN on Traditional Knowledge and Resource Management with Indigenous Peoples.

Finally, the feds acknowledged they had no background and a hired a consultant to do an "unbiased" report on the "subsistence" issue for the Hawaii National Pacific Ocean Monument planning. They used the international criteria and worked closely with fishermen and kupuna.

The term "Subsistence" was used because this is how Hawaiians, the Hawaii State Constitution,  the rules of the Hawaiian Department of Land And Natural Resources and International law characterized the human right itself discussed always as "SUBSISTENCE FISHING".

The report was completed in March 2004. When the report came out, there was concern hat the authors had misrepresented what the Kupuna had said. The actual quotes from Kupuna did not support limiting subsistence rights to 'eating in the monument' but the report said it did.

The Kupuna had noted that unless subsistence fishing continued for Hawaiians, the traditional knowledge of fisheries and fishery management would be lost. They supported the ongoing practice of Hawaiians for gathering, worship, voyaging and fishing in the Monument in order to ensure the perpetuation of cultural management practices in the Monument

 The authors said there needed to be a new definition of 'subsistence' in the monument but promised that Hawaiians would be able to continue fishing to feed their families. This is when the idea of a Co-Op first emerged.

A few Captains had boats large enough to go up t the NWHI, and these captains were willing to support a Co-Op if someone could organize the distribution of food once the vessels returned.

OHA's staffer Heidi discussed this with me several times.  The other point that was contused in the report was the opposition to commercial fishing.

Even Uncle Buzzy felt that commercial fishing should be limited to wise management regimes, but Buzzy never support terminating commercial fishing altogether, he always supported the industry he said he was part of - but he wanted restrictions and limits to ensure there would be fish for Hawaii, Hawaiians & everyone else.

After the report came out, the NOAA formed their cultural adviser group - few fishermen & many hula dancers.

They continued to represent that our subsistence rights would be accommodated, it was bullshit.

When the final rules came out, they replaced "SUBSISTENCE" fishing with "SUSTENANCE" fishing.

[IB Publisher's note: In other words, the constitution of the state of Hawaii and international law recognizes and protects Hawaiian "SUBSISTENCE FISHING" not "SUSTENANCE FISHING".]

NOAA said that that the term "subsistence" had an established meaning legally, and they could not change the meaning legally so they decide to use the word "SUSTENANCE" instead.

This was ten years ago. I know. I was there. So was Isaac Harp and Ziegler. Check the record, its Isaac Harp (not me) who has been and still is on several of the Federal and State allegedly Hawaiian committees, as a cultural adviser.

Check the record, read the 2004 Report, stop the misrepresentations. This is a serious food security issue for our peoples and for our State. We have subsistence rights, Harp and Ziegler and the US are denying these rights.

The Environmentalists and their advisers thought it as a joke - that they had tricked the Hawaiians by changing the terminology. When the dust settled only they were laughing.

Everyone else saw it for what it was - a deliberate misrepresentation that operated to keep our Hawaiian fishermen from feeding their families and that would prevent the incorporation of Hawaiian indigenous knowledge into marine resource management.

And as you all can see..... its still at work.

Isaac Harp is now threatening to go to the big US Bully (GAO) to complain about WESPAC.

WESPAC has been attacked by PEW and the Washington environmentalists who have funded the local environmental groups for years on this issue.

Search all you want, I have never been paid by the US for my human rights work, including the Complaint to the UN against the US and World Heritage Committee (WHC) for the racism and human rights violations relating to the Marine Monument.

I am sure that the WESPAC fiscal officer will verify that Kitty Simmons (WESPAC director) is truthful as am I, the record reflects the opposite when it comes to others in this ongoing debate.

I urge everyone to inform themselves, read the reports and make an informed decision. This impacts our right to food and the preservation of traditional knowledge and cultural rights of our peoples.


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