Net Fishing Restrictions

SUBHEAD: Hawaii State Senate Bill proposes ban on use of man-made monofilament fishing nets.

By Lyn McNutt on 24 January 2013 in Island Breath -

Image above: Uncle Morgan shows how to net fish in Waipio Valley on the Big Island. From (

I can understand the need to be MUCH more pono about nets and filament and hooks (etc) left on reefs, but this proposal, by lumping gill nets and throw nets into the same category, could affect the fundamental idea of Ohana Fishing (fishing for your family and not commercial fishing) and small-scale commercial fishing for local markets.

What seems to be at issue here is the use of gill nets and commercial fishing on the reef. The State's definition of a gill net is inadequate and defines it as only catching fish by the gills.  Gill nets actually catch fish by gills, by fish getting stuck (body) in the net and by entanglement (not limited to fish).  Gill nets left unattended are not good for the health of the reef.   
Throw nets are used to selectively catch fish and have less of an impact on the removal of species from the reef (not including aquarium fishing).  The problem I have seen mentioned about the use of "natural" materials for throw nets is that they do not sink as quickly as monofilament netting, so they are not as effective.
We need to get a handle on the protection of the fish on the reef, and the use of more pono techniques for fishing.  We need to think about what species of reef fish could be used for local-scale commercial fishing, and we should question the current regulations for takes of aquarium fish.  We also need to protect the rights of those non-Hawaiians who have been engaged in local-scale commercial fishing. 
It is really time for the State to consider the idea of Locally-Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs), as used successfully in many other small-scale fisheries around the world.  The concept is very close to traditional Hawaiian fisheries management, and would work well here--likely even better than Marine Protected Areas and Sanctuaries

Strictly from my personal point of view, I think that a discussion of gill netting and the classification and monitoring of reef species needs to take place soon.  Aquarium takes need to be included in this discussion.  On the throw net side, I think that Native Hawaiians AND other non-Hawaiian resident fishers need to have their rights protected within this discussion, both for ohana fishing and for local scale commercial fishing.
Below is the information on a senate joint hearing for the Energy & Environment Committee and the Water & Land Committee that set for Tuesday, January 29th at 2:45pm.

Hearing Date 1/29/2013 2:45 PM
Bill_Code SB27
Description Prohibits the sale and use of synthetic nets for gill net fishing. Restricts the use of throw nets for fishing.
Committee ENE/WTL
Conference Room 225 at the State Capitol Building
415 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii


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