Page 1


learning from the past sound advice from Frank Farm

hamakua landings maunalua konohiki mayor of bamboo ridge one ulua twice caught Page 16


Lawai‘a Magazine

issue four 2010



Issue number four 2010

oio photo by sterling kaya



What’s This [pg. 6]


The Ulua Tagging Project [pg. 30]

Inside [pg. 7] e hoike mai [pg. 8]

KELA A ME KEIA [pg. 54]

Pelagic Fisheries Research Program [pg. 32]

NEW GEAR [pg. 56]

the best caretaker [pg. 36]

Kimi’s Corner [pg. 10]

speak [pg. 58]

Once Upon A Landing [pg. 40]

shoreline tech [pg. 12]

tribute [pg. 62]

konohiki days of maunalua bay [pg. 46]

fish stories [pg. 14]

mayor of bamboo ridge [pg. 50] hawaii fishing & seafood Festival [pg. 52]


Lawai‘a Magazine

C h ec k t h i s o u t u n u s ua l c atc h e s Lawai‘a Magazine Sterling Kaya > Publisher Design Darin H. Isobe > Art Director Director of Marketing + Sales Marc Inouye > Sales & Marketing VOICE Graphic + Environmental Design Clifford Cheng > Visual Consultant Contributing Writers John Clark, Chris Cramer, Brian Funai, Laarni Gedo, John Kaneko, Neil Kanemoto, John Kato, Andrea Kawabata, Sterling Kaya, Brian Kimata, Clay Tam, Ed Watamura, Kimi Werner, Bryan Yatsushiro



LIN• 1245+ MAR






g learnin from the past SOUND ADV



lan din gs ham aku a kon ohi ki ge ma una lua bam boo rid ma yor of


ON THE COVER: Lessons learned from the past with Frank Farm

These photos were taken at Honolua Bay on Maui. The eel would move from cover to cover. The Ulua and the Papio would circle around, not straying too far from the eel. As you can see, the eel swam over a lot of open area to get to the next covered spot. As a group, they swam very close to each other and covered a lot of ground. Amazing. John Kato

Letters and Comments Send to: Lawai‘a Magazine 1733 Dllingham Blvd. Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 Or email: Lawai‘a Magazine 1733 Dillingham Blvd. Honolulu, Hawaii 96819 T: 808.843.8182 > F: 808.848.5539 Every attempt is made to publish Lawai‘a 4 times a year. Printed by Lotus Printing Hong Kong. Check out our web site. Featuring details of the Lawai‘a Fish of The Year Contest.


Lawai‘a Magazine


many fishermen around who remember standing on mats of bagasse, catching the opae living within it and casting into the schools of moi that ran beneath the mats. Similar stories come from many who fished outside of the Kahuku Sugar Mill on Oahu. When talking about man-made changes to our shoreline, one cannot help but think of traditional Hawaiian fishponds. They were not only engineering wonders but were also another example of man-made changes that enhanced our shoreline ecosystem. John Clark interviews Dr. Clyde Tamaru about fishponds in this issue and we will also include a feature on He’eia Fishpond of Kaneohe, Oahu in a later issue. To many, the word “fishpond” automatically brings about the image of a bountiful harvest pulled from the confines of the pond walls. The obvious benefit is that at the height of production, the ponds provided for the native population’s diet through the direct production of food. However, not many realize that the benefit of fishponds extended way beyond those walls in the way of an indirect effect they had on enhancing the entire nearshore ecosystem. Simply put, fishponds increased critical estuarine habitat. While tons of fish like mullet, awa and oio were produced in fishponds, even more were produced outside in the wild as a result of the reciprocating effect and freeflowing movement of young. Mullet, awa and oio were every day fish for many Hawaii residents up until only a couple of decades ago and the commercial landing reports of the time show this. Not only did it feed our residents but the burgeoning population of the lower food chain surely enhanced prey availability for a predator population. Some even believe that when fishpond operation was at its highest, with nearly 100 along Oahu’s shoreline alone in 1900, our nearshore Hawaiian ecosystem was ultimately manipulated by man to be more productive than its natural state. As a result of the disappearance of fishponds and crucial estuaries, a return to that normal level is expected and that is what we see today, further degraded with the injustices of habitat destruction and reduced capacity. While it is convenient for some to blame the decline in our marine resources on the hunter gatherers, it is much more difficult for them to comprehend that habitat degradation, destruction and loss has brought even more significant impacts to the flora and fauna once residing there. Is it the absence of a clear vision of what our Hawaii will be in the future that we pursue development and projects in the guise of economic vitality and necessity, at the expense of destroying the habitat of the marine plants and creatures while pointing the finger at the fishermen? Is it so difficult to achieve economic vitality while preserving our natural resources? Would having a vision and commitment to achieve such, as once provided by former Governor George Ariyoshi, and restated in his current book, “Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years” be realized? The leaders of tomorrow must take the lead and create that vision. While for us today, we must be respectful and commit ourselves toward providing a complementing framework from which their vision can evolve. Think about it. Evangeline Logan


any of our readers often comment on how they are fascinated with our stories that journey back in time. We are too and that’s why Lawai’a continues to do them! More importantly, however, we feel it is all too often overlooked as to how our ocean resources of today can benefit from the knowledge of yesterday. We do these stories as a way to emphasize that precious time doesn’t have to be wasted re-inventing the wheel. It is our hope that more realize the importance of tapping the vast traditional knowledge of those in particular who have demonstrated a command of that knowledge by fishing sustainably for decades. In this and future issues, we intend to bring our readers stories of people who have done just that, often in the face of unjustified criticism by the uninformed and, more often, without recognition. Read about how Frank Farm has lived a life dedicated to the ocean and it’s resources. Chris Cramer brings us another fascinating story of the history of the konohiki system and some of the konohiki of Maunalua Bay, Oahu. While many of the konohiki deserve credit for what they practiced in their own time, today they would be faced with a daunting task of having to do their job under a myriad of rules, regulations and most notably, severely altered environmental conditions that completely throw off patterns and knowledge of a thousand years. Areas closed to fishing, seasons, sizes, time restraints, indirect impacts such as  elemental changes to the ecosystem, tourism based activities and more are all recent changes that konohiki couldn’t have dreamed of when they managed only a few decades ago.  Speaking of changes, John Clark wrote about shark riding and the changes brought about in Ke’ehi Lagoon in issue number 3 of Lawai’a while our editorial commented on the drastic man-made changes of that area. Along with those changes, across the State today we have runoff of nutrients flowing directly into the sea, causing alien algae to flourish and choke out native limu within our protected waters. Oneula Beach We also have today freshwater being diverted for our residential developments and industry to make our island economy steamroll ahead. Although critical to the delicate chemical balance that our nearshore ecosystem depended on for thousands of years, these two very things have changed what our ocean has looked like in a mere 100 years. A comment was made recently by one Maui agriculture industry executive when emphasizing the importance of jobs at stake: “What’s a little more fish and flora?”. While many man-made changes have had serious adverse impacts on the nearshore ecosystem of our islands, not all have been bad. Some have actually been beneficial to our fisheries. In this issue, Honokaaborn Neil Kanemoto writes about the fantastic moi runs of Hamakua on the Island of Hawaii that resulted from the sugar industry sending its processing waste product, bagasse, directly out to sea. There are still

Inside Editorial Staff

issue four 2010


Steven Fukuda

Brian Chang

e ho-‘ike mai

Bronson Beyer

Jimmy Ovalles Christian Look

Joyce Shoji

Glenn Manuel

Bryson Imasaka and Brendan Hashimoto Jarryn Ng Ranson, Ryan, Ryder


Lawai‘a Magazine

Shannon Funai

Christopher Colt

Riki Yu 8.5 lb Mu

Everette Yu

Joel Chad and Kelly

Go Digital

send us your pics

Jason Savella Sr

Kekahi Arakaki

Brenden Jayke Inoue

Jason “Oni “ Savella Jr

Matthew Taboniar

Email digital photos as jpg files. Please take pics at your highest setting possible. Email jpg photos to Incude all info please. All pics sent become the property of Lawai‘a Magazine.


Lisa Aksionczyk

Nestor Matas Joe Sugihara

Sage & Koa Cierras, Renee and Karter Kester

issue three 2009


kimi’s corner

Alicia’s Market If everything goes right, something must be wrong. Leonard Kam remembers his wise mother Alicia saying these words repeatedly since opening Alicia’s Market with her husband, the late Raymond Kam in 1949. It’s 8:00 pm and I’m on the phone with Leonard trying to conduct an interview during his free time. While asking him questions I hear the banging of pots and pans in the background and Leonard politely asks to put me on hold a few times so that he can finish up the many sauces and dishes that need to be ready first thing in the morning. He’s been at work since 6:30 am and probably won’t leave until 9:30 tonight, maybe even later with me slowing him down, so I try my best to make it quick.  “My parents knew that with running a business, there’s always something that will go wrong. That keeps us on our toes, never relaxing,” says Leonard. He would know; he and his five sisters grew up in this business. Leonard has been working in the market since he was a toddler. His first job was stock boy and his duties included individually writing prices on all the store items with a lead pen. He recalls a customer once asking repeatedly where the cashier was and Leonard had to point to his older sister Cynthia, who was five years old at the time, and say, “Right there!” During my visit to Alicia’s Market a few days ago, Cynthia was still upfront working the register as her son Dion took care of customers in the back of the store with Leonard’s son Christopher, at Alicia’s legendary food counter. This section of the market consists of a warmer holding a mouth-watering selection of roast meats and a huge refrigerated poke bar. The poke bar has the biggest selection of cold seafood appetizers that I have seen here in Hawaii.  This would explain what keeps Leonard and the boys up all night. There’s everything from sweet marinated surf clams and teriyaki giant squid to smoked tako poke and dried abalone. There are also classics like limu ahi poke, their most popular item and kim chee cucumbers.    It would be extremely hard for me to choose a favorite item from the poke bar. Each one is unique, exotic and full of flavor. On this particular day I was mostly drawn to their raw tako poke. It was both soft and chewy, with the

Alicia’s famous poke bar


Lawai‘a Magazine

Christopher Kam cutting the duck

Leonard Kam and his mother Alicia

perfect balance of sweet and salty. There was also a slightly bitter bite to it because of the tako ink that was mixed in.    I also loved the wasabi masago ahi poke. Each bite was met with crunchy salty little balls of goodness (masago), followed by that smooth sinus-clearing rush of wasabi. I appreciated how they used different oils to flavor and glaze the poke, making it shine like a fine varnish, rather than the common overkill of too much mayonnaise, which seems to be common in store bought pokes.  After the poke bar, I moved on to the hot items and felt like I was back in time looking through the glass warmer at long lost local delicacies such as turkey tails in both traditional and char siu flavor.  Whole roasted ducks and chickens hung side by side, sweating next to large pieces of roast beef, pork char siu and Chinese style roasted pork.   It was like looking at a treasure chest filled with a variety of gems all glistening and gleaming together in brilliance.    I bit into the roast pork and was not only hit immediately by the wonderful crispiness of the fatty skin, but I was also blown away by the flavor of the meat. There was such a depth of taste going on­—it was almost smoky, perfectly savory and completely tender and juicy throughout every bite.    If there’s anything to be said about Alicia’s it’s that lifetimes of love has been put into their food.    “When customers come in, I want to give them something to make them happy,” says Leonard. “Most of our customers are hard working people and they might come into our store mad, hot, sticky or grouchy.  So I offer them a sample, and they smile—they’re happy. I like to give them something to make them happy. But they always end up buying something—simply because they like what they taste.”  Leonard and Dion both agree that interacting with their customers is their favorite part of their workdays. To describe how nice his customers are, Leonard told me a story about how his tip jar originated.   He explained that rather than having traditional business cards made, he printed the business contact information on pogs, or milkcaps right when the big pog fad was starting to die out in Hawaii. He filled a jar full of the pogs and placed it on the poke counter for people to take from.   “Everyone took the pogs faster than I could fill it up, and then people started putting change in the jar and everyone just started tipping. It just goes to show how nice people are,” says Leonard. “And when we have to close the store to take a vacation, everyone says ‘good you deserve it’”   Dion says that he loves interacting with his customers because he has known them for so long. “I’ve watched their kids grow and they’ve watched me grow up,” he says.  When asked whether it’s difficult to work so closely with your family members, Dion says, “It can be hard working with your family everyday.  There’s bound to be disagreements, but you just have to put your pride aside and work.”  “But I definitely appreciate seeing them everyday,” he adds thoughtfully.  When he says “everyday” he isn’t joking.  Being that Alicia’s Market is opened from Monday to Saturdays, I had to ask, “What does everyone

do on Sundays?” “Sundays have always been family days,” says Leonard. “My mom likes to get the whole family together for dinner.”  Now that’s one big dinner considering that Alicia, who is now 84 years old and looking spectacular has six children and 13 grandchildren.    One thing is certain about this family. They know how to cook and they know how to work together through fun times and tough times.  “I thank the Lord that we are thriving in hard times,” says Leonard.  “It’s hard to start a business right now. We’ve been going for 60 years.  Businesses that have been around this long have to have a niche. Our niche is keeping people happy.” 

Sampling a variety of items from the poke bar

Alicia’s Market (808) 841-1921 267 Mokauea Street Monday – Friday 8am to 7pm Saturday 8am – 6:30pm Sunday Closed issue four 2010



By Brian Kimata

Question: My friend uses some pretty expensive hooks for casting and I’ve been using some pretty cheap ones [ I don’t even know the brand ]. Are the expensive hooks really worth it? I can’t see spending the cash on something you’re going to lose anyway. Answer: Whoa, you must be casting at Black Point! I’ve deposited my fair share of hardware there myself! OK, seriously, yes there is a difference, and it’s big. Quality hooks are produced on advanced automated equipment resulting in a consistent product. Check out your friends hooks and you’ll see that they all look the same, perfect copies of each other. Quality hooks are made of quality materials, usually high carbon steel, or an alloy of it. The higher the carbon content, the stronger the steel. In fact, high carbon steel was developed by the Gamakatsu company specifically for hook making! High carbon steel has few impurities resulting in a strong, hard product. This means a point that’s less likely to bend and a tip that’s capable of being significantly sharper. A stronger point means a higher hook ratio as there is less

Today’s Tip: Reel maintenance should have an emphasis on prevention. Think about the similarity between your car and your reel. As

your car’s engine runs, metal particles wear and eventually dirty the car’s precious crankcase oil. By draining that oil and replacing it you limit any unnecessary wear. The same thing happens within your reel. As parts wear, these particles pollute the oil and grease and left unchecked, create a paste that is very abrasive. Proper service intervals limit this wear. You wouldn’t take your car to the mechanic only when it breaks so why would you service your reel only when it doesn’t spin. As they say a pound of prevention….


Lawai‘a Magazine

deflection as the hook tries to penetrate. This is particularly important in fish with hard jaws or should the hook enter along a bone. For extra strength, some hooks are forged. Fish hooks are measured by their sharpness, hardness and viscosity at the point. Premium hooks are heat treated [tempered], to enhance these qualities without becoming brittle. They are then finished with hook specific sharpening processes enhancing their strike energy. Speaking of strike energy, higher end hooks face significant design testing to increase penetration. The VMC company for example, uses four different point designs in five different cuts in their small game hooks alone! Many cheap imports are merely copies of these hooks without much thought towards design. So…. I see your point [ pardon the pun ]. I wouldn’t toss a $4.00 hook if I knew I probably wouldn’t get it back. But, for a lot of applications, especially slide baiting where there’s a higher percentage of getting your gear back, I’d go for quality first. The fish hook was developed 20,000 years ago and is still evolving. Who knows, maybe we will see a clear fish hook someday. Hey, I’d drop some big cash for that!

Next, take a small sponge or toothbrush with dishwashing liquid on it and scrub the reel thoroughly, catching each nook and cranny. Rinse it again with warm water and shake off as much water as possible. I’ll also spin the spool and try to fling off any water that’s deep into the line. When you’re done, back off the drag and set the reel out for a couple of days to dry it off.Now you can rebox it or set it into a quality reel bag. That should do the trick. If your reel has been submerged, that’s another story. Any reel that has been submerged should be disassembled as soon as possible. Your bearings and drag washers will not last long with any salt in them and you may have had sand carried deep into the reel by the water. Sand will grind into your gears and can do major damage. Do not clean your reels by soaking them in a bucket of fresh water. If your reel is salty, you will be soaking it in salt water and depositing a thin layer of salt deep into the reel where it will remain for a while. Similarly, do not rinse your reel with a pressurized garden nozzle. The force of the spray will drive salt deep into the reel causing a similar situation and reaction.

Question: I just bought a brand new Shimano Trinidad and want it to last a long time. How do I take care of it? I can’t afford another one anytime soon. Answer: Hey, nice reel, congratulations! The reel you have purchased is a very high quality and pricey one. The care for it however, is not unlike the care for any other reel pricey or not. The key here is prevention. With proper care, your reel will last you a lifetime. Saltwater and corrosion however, would like to tell you otherwise. Shimano recommends that its reels be cleaned (overhauled), twice a year. The good news is, your reel is made from machined aluminum. It is much more dense than cast aluminum and has less pores for corrosion to start but, will corrode if left uncared for. It’s obvious that washing your reel in fresh water after each use in a must. You’ll note that I said washing your reel and not rinsing your reel. I clean my reels by first tightening the drag as much as possible. This is to compress the drag washers and help keep water out of them. Drag washers don’t like to get wet because this will shorten their life span. I then run warm water over the entire reel, removing as much salt as possible.

Brian Kimata is the owner of Brian’s Fishing Supply. Send your Shoreline Tech questions to him question may appear in our next issue!

issue four 2010


f i s h sto r i e s Andrea Kawabata

r eco r d O n o a p p l i c at i o n Troy, Fred and I went diving on the first furlough Friday - might as well make use of them. Fred shot the first ono that came right up to him on the surface. After he was able to start bringing the fish up, I took the back-up shot. His ono weighed 27 lbs. Unfortunately, as Troy was trying to reload my gun, the new shaft that I had put in, kept misfiring with only the first band. He suggested retiring it for the day, handed me his reel gun and hooked it up to my tag line. We swam and swam and swam with no other big fish in sight. Finally ready to head in, Troy broke up our last opelu and tossed it. In a matter of a minute or two, an ono came straight in from the deep. I dove, turned parallel to the ono and flashed my glove at it to come in closer. Behind me, Troy gave his teasers little tugs. For a few moments, the ono’s attention went to the teasers and I was able to turn 180 degrees, give a couple of power kicks and get a shot off. The ono took off so fast that I could hear the bungees singing in the water and I had to do a back bend and flick the bungee over my head as the ono ran past me. As we all packed up and tore off to keep up with the fish, I could see Troy’s reel peeling out and reach its end. I tried pulling the ono up, but thought something was wrong and that the ono was being chased or eaten by sharks. Fortunately, Troy was right there and helped to bring the ono up. The ono had sounded and we ended up having to reel in all the line. As the ono was coming up, I could see a big rip and asked Fred to get a second shot on it. He had just reached us and was exhausted. So he gave me his gun and I put a back-up in the fish’s head. This was my first ono and it weighed 35.5 lbs! Thanks guys!!! 14

Lawai‘a Magazine

issue four 2010


f i s h sto r i e s

Bryan Yatsushiro & Chantelle Gendreau

Catch of a Lifetime One Fish twice caught


y name is Bryan Yatsushiro, last year I was living on the windward side of Oahu with my fiancé Chantelle Gendreau. On 11/26/08 my fiancé and I decided to go fishing. I had been teaching her how to tie her own rigs and how to cast her Hawaiian Angler 12’ spinning rod, paired with a Shimano Stradic 4000 reel with 20 lb test Power Pro. Using he’e as bait, my fiancé casted her line out at Kualoa Beach Park and at 10:30pm the pole started going off. The ratchet was screaming and the pole was fully flexed. Chantelle ran to the pole without tabbies and fought the fish for about 20 minutes. When the fish was landed, it was tagged with a fork length of 27 1/4” and a


Lawai‘a Magazine

girth of 21 1/4”. This was only the second fish she caught and her first ulua, it weighed in at 15lbs. We recently moved to Moloka‘i and have been fishing irregularly. On 9/21/09 we went fishing out on east Kaunakakai. The night started out with two green head eels and one tohei. I was starting to run low on he‘e so I decided to use the tail of the tohei I caught. One of the rods I was using that night was a 13’8” Jeff Andrew rod that I usually use for either sliding bait or heavy bait casting. The rod was paired with a Daiwa Sealine 50 and loaded with 50 lb. Big Game. Knowing that set up would be able to handle a decent size fish I threw the tohei out. At around 10:30pm, my pole

started going off. Just by judging the strike and when I first picked up the rod, I had a feeling it was a small ulua! I was stoked and even more stoked when I landed it! When I landed the fish there appeared to be limu kohu growing near the top fin on the back of the fish. The first thought that came to my mind was that it was a tag and I started to pick off the limu while we were measuring the fish. While picking off the limu I noticed that it was an ulua tag that read U10520. I looked at my fiancé and said “Hun, I think this is our fish.” Chantelle ran to grab our tagging kit and started reading the ulua tag numbers, “10517, 10518, 10519.” I ran to look at the reporting card and sure enough it read Chantelle, Kualoa, U10520,

27 1/4” long, 21 1/4. This time the fish measured with a fork length of 29 1/4” and girth of 21”. My fiancé and I were so shocked we just kept telling ourselves “I cannot believe it!” “I cannot believe that this is our fish!” The only bummer was that the fish swallowed the hook and we couldn’t re-release it. This is the catch of a lifetime with odds that are incomprehensible, my fiancé caught her first ulua at Kualoa Beach Park, less than one year later we moved to Moloka’i and caught the same ulua. After this experience we are strong believers in the ulua tagging project and the conservation of Hawai‘i’s fish.

issue four 2010


f i s h sto r i e s

bloody knuckles, sore bodies & big grins “It looks like a baseball bat!” Screamed Nathan Varnadoe, long time crew for Maggie Joe, as he realized there might be something special on the end of their line. The initial bite was unassuming, short corner went off, 14” bait on the line, second and a half wave. But as they saw the bill swaying back and forth, leaving a 10’ splash on top of the water, they knew that this was no guppy. The lines were cleared as guest Captain, Mike Hennessy, reversed the boat towards the fish. Marvin Bethune, out of Ft. Pierce, Florida, had the pleasure of angling this beautiful beast. Marvin “felt a spiritual connection as soon as he held the rod and reel.” Both Captain Hennessy and Nathan later commented that it is unusual for novice fishermen to feel the tension and pull of a fish in such a way. The fish took out line three times, and jumped in large series of figure eights, like a fish a quarter of the size. When the fish was finally at leader, in a little over 40 minutes, she was still swimming strong, never once rolling in the fight. Nate took wraps on the leader pulling for all he was worth, arms and back exploding with tension. Captain Hennessy placed the first flier in the fish followed by two stick gaffs, and the fight was over. Now came the hard part: getting the fish in the boat without harming anyone, the guests especially. In 25 knot winds and 6’ to 8’ swells, Captain Hennessy described it as “a nightmare.” It took the strength of seven grown men, of all ages, four gaffs, a sturdy block and tackle, and a lot of innovation to bring the fish into the boat. Finally after the longest hour of their lives, teamwork finally brought the fish in the boat, tail first. Everyone, including the 5 guys on the shared charter had bloody knuckles, sore bodies and the biggest grins on their faces. High fives and shouts could be heard back in Honolulu.


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As I saw the boat turn around to park in their slip at Kewalo Basin, my first reaction was “Holy crap! That fish is HUGE!” I had never seen a fish so large, and this means a lot to the daughter of a longtime Kewalo Basin fisherman. Of course, lifting the fish out of the boat is almost as large a task as getting it into the boat; the electric winch Maggie Joe has on the dock was a definite back saver for many of the friends and family that came to see the monster they heard about through the coconut wireless. The fish was so long that even at the highest the winch would take her, she was still too large to hang over the sidewalk, so she was photographed over the water. It was with great honor that I read the exact weight of the fish from our digital scale. “1245 Lbs!” I screamed; everyone on the dock began to hug and congratulate each other. Nathan must have hugged every person on the dock twice, strangers included. As I placed the official weight slip so Marvin and the other guests could get their photos with the fish, Nathan squealed “1200?!” He didn’t realize how big the fish really was. Nathan then went around for a third round of hugs. “It is every Marlin fisherman’s lifetime dream to break the grander mark,” said Captain Hennessy, “1200 is an extra star.” While celebrating with a rum and coke, I asked both captain and crew their thoughts on the whole life changing experience. Captain Hennessy said to “stay close to a big fish, never let her get too much line out. Have a crew ready to sacrifice his life for the cause. Nate is that man.” Nathan, affectionately known as ‘Nate the Mate’ encourages to “hold on and never let go, never give up, your dreams will come true.” Captain Hennessy wants to thank owner Michael Derago for maintaining a top notch boat and professional operation to make a fish of this caliber possible.

issue four 2010



5th annual club challenge results october 2009

J. Castro B. Bautista f Ulua 1. J. Williams (nspb ‘b’) (30.5 lbs) 2. B. Bautista (nspb ‘b’) (30.4) 3. B. Iwai (hui o’ ulua) (28.9) 4. J. Savella (nspb ‘a’) (25.0) 5. F. Ganitano (kahakai) (20.3) f OIO 1. J. Castro (hui o’ ulua) (8.47 lbs) 2. R. Ikegami (kolohe) (8.02) 3. C. Maxwell (hanapaa) (7.67) 4. G. Ueyama (hanapaa) (6.92) 5. K. Gaudia (rock pounders) (6.85) f PAPIO 1. B. Bautista (nspb ‘b’) (9.06 lbs) 2. J. Ogata (makapuu boyz) (7.67) 3. R. Pearson (nspb ‘a’) (7.55) 4. D. Ho (kakele) (7.03) 5. B. Hashimoto (hui o’ ulua) 6.73 f other game 1. J. Ogata Awaawa (makapuu) (5.67 lbs) 2. M. Esdicul Awaawa (nspb ‘a’) (5.44) f jackpot categories: Largest Ulua J. Williams (nspb ‘b’) 30.5 lbs Smallest Ulua M. Kaneshiro (hui o’ ulua) 10.7 lbs Largest Oio J. Castro (hui o’ ulua) 8.47 lbs Oio Closest To 6# D. Chamizo (kakele) 5.94 lbs Largest Papio B. Bautista (nspb ‘b’) 9.06 lbs Papio Closest To 6# W. Imamoto (kakele) 5.97 lbs f Total weight winner: Hui o’ Ulua Shorecasters J. Williams


Lawai‘a Magazine

Note: minimum qualifying weight of all fishes was 5 lb

issue four 2010


Tournaments 2009 Eastside Challenge results Presented by Nankoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fishing Supply and Aloha Army Hosted by Eastside Outkastaz

Brandon Soong

Robin Paakaula

f Ulua 1. Shern Hacoba (20.6 lbs)

Shern Hacoba


Lawaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a Magazine

f OIO 1. Brandon Soong (7.8 lbs) 2. Robin Paakaula (4.8) 3. Kaipo Shiroma (4.1)

Kaipo Shiroma

2009 Family Feud Ohana Fishing Tournament Kaneohe Bay

issue four 2010


Kaneohe Bay Firemen’s Tournament

f Largest Squid 1. Chuck Spencer     5.99 lbs 2. Andy Mau             5.62 3. Bary Ewaliko        5.50 4. Kaholo Faulkner   5.24 5. Alan Nitta             4.52   f Total Pieces He‘e 1. Bryan Kau           3 pc. / 11.93 lbs 2. Tim Turgeon        3 pc. / 10.12 3. Brian Yoshikawa  3 pc. /  8.37 4. Reece Ishihara     3 pc. /  7.89 5. Jamie Sanchez    3 pc. /  6.97   f Total Weight He’e 1. Ryan Aoki           10.48 lbs 2. Butch Ralston    8.69 3. Darian Yokooji   8.33 4. Charlie Hook      7.06 5. Rob Ishihara       4.93   f Largest Fish 1. Corey Lau              6.96 lbs  2. Blake Takahashi    1.50 3. Kapiko Spencer  .97   f Total Weight Fish 1. Casey Ferreira       6.88 lbs 2. Nalu Kukea           2.10 3. Jay Shimabuku      1.18


Lawai‘a Magazine

4th Annual Keiki Catch ‘em Tournament He‘eia Fish Pond Fishing only allowed with permission from Paepae o He‘eia, a private non-profit organization dedicated to caring for He‘eia Fishpond.

f 5 and under

1. Skylar Azama 2. Airana Kishimoto 3. Taylor Miyataki f 6-9 age group

1. Ridge Ono 2. Tehani Tanele


Lawai‘a Magazine

.77 lb Kaku .53 Kaku .45 Kaku .60 Kaku .18 Toau

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Mike Sakamoto Memorial Scholarship Fishing Tournament Sept. 18-20, 2009 Pier 38

The Mike Sakamoto Memorial Scholarship Fishing Tournament was held along Oahu shorelines from September 18 – 20, 2009. This event was put on by the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group. Approximately 150 people entered in the various divisions to vie for thousands of dollars in prizes, such as rods, reels, Naoki originals, fishing gear, and gift certificates. A benefit tournament for the Mike Sakamoto Memorial Scholarship, the tournament raised money that will ultimately be


f Ulua 1. Craig Nakamoto 2. Harry Shinno 3. Marc Morioka 4. Norman Inouye 5. Darrell Salondake 6. Miles Kaneshiro

48.1 lbs 30.2 27.0 25.0 21.7 19.1

f Papio 1. Jeff Manatad 2. Raty Phomenone 3. Dexter Mitte 4. Noel Torigoe 5. Gallery Pasion

6.54 lbs 3.70 3.67 3.33 3.28

f Oio 1. Jared Balidoy 2. Noel Torigoe 3. Joshua Tamayo 4. Greg Fritz 5. Allan Ho

7.37 lbs 6.36 6.24 6.24 5.87

f Women’s 1. Ann Phomenone

5.49 Oio

Lawai‘a Magazine

rewarded to prospective college students planning to study in a marine management-related field. Sakamoto was a staunch advocate for responsible fishing, embodying the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group’s motto of “Fish Today for Fish Tomorrow”. This inaugural tournament marks the beginning of an annual event to honor Sakamoto, who passed away in January from cancer. The winning fish in the ulua category was a 48-pounder, caught by Craig Nakamoto.

Pearl Harbor Fishing Tournament 2009

1. Kapakahi (Jon Niiyama) 226.2 lbs 2. Verna C. (Renny Muraoka) 196.0 3. Tracey H. (Clinton Ho) 194.2 4. Sweet Kimi (David Von Hamm) 83.6 5. Keala (Eric Davidson) 177.4 6. Moana Kai (Michael Young) 162.4 7. Lucky Star (Jason Moromisato) 161.2 8. Debbie-Lu (John Leong) 155.0 9. Tammy D. (Paul Navarro) 51.4 10. Dayna Rae (Lance Onaga) 150.0 11. Taylor Y. (Scot Yoshimura) 143.6 12. Emiko (Todd George) 134.6 13. Candice M. (Michael Matsunaga) 127.8 14. Emi Kai (Brian Kawano) 121.4 15.Jenny Lou (Earl Pagan) 38.4

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T h e U lua Tag g i ng Project B y


he success of the Ulua Tagging Project has been attributed to the caring fishermen of Hawaii. Many have grown up on the ocean respecting this valuable resource as a source of food, recreation and survival. This respect and concern of our resources has come naturally for those born and raised in the islands. Surrounded by water fishermen have learned through culture and tradition to take care of their resource. This same attitude has spilled over and is the main reason for the success of this project. It has now been almost 9 years since the Ulua Tagging Project went statewide. And the project numbers continue to grow and set new milestones. New anglers continue to join and more tagging data is gathered. This valuable data will no doubt contribute to helping manage our fishery. The project itself has brought fishermen and communities closer together. By tagging fishermen have literally become stake holders in the resource. Tag and recovery data of ulua/papio traveling between islands has brought a different prospective and meaning to the term “sharing of our resources”. Tag and release has not only given us valuable data but tagging efforts alone by fishermen have helped conserve our valuable resource. Releasing a single ulua or maturing papio allows the fish to spawn and replenish the resource. With over 750 ulua and 34,000 papio tagged you can see how important tag and releasing can be to our resource. Now if each of those tagged fish spawned a million eggs, can you imagine what that would do to help sustain our resources! In 2008, thanks to the outstanding support of Hawaii’s fishermen for the tagging project. The DAR Ulua Tagging Project won the prestigious NOAA Sustainable Fisheries Leadership Award. The only award given in recognition for outstanding community based fisheries projects in the nation. This award reflects the attitude of Hawaii’s fishermen and their caring of our resources. We would like to thank all the fishermen of Hawaii for their outstanding help and support. Below we want to share with you the views of a few participating anglers that sums up how some of the fishermen feel about the tagging project.

Paul Murakawa


Lawai‘a Magazine

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Fishermen’s Comments: “Incorporating the DAR tagging project in our tournament helps gather valuable data and increase angler participation year round. I have noticed more and more anglers are changing their fishing habits and are conserving and tagging more, which is a plus for our fishing industry. The more we can support the tagging project the better it will be for generations to come.” Michael Tokunaga – S. Tokunaga Store Inc./ Ulua Challenge Fishing Tournament, Hilo Being a part of the Ulua Tagging Project feels good knowing that you can contribute to the enhancement of the near shore papio/ulua fishery. “I also like to receive recapture notification; it’s like seeing your children growing up”. Mark Gonsalves - KMCB Volunteer Officer, Oahu “I have gained much knowledge in the growth and migration of papio and ulua. I have a better understanding of the need to preserve this valuable resource.” Glenn Oyamot – Avid fishermen, Kauai “I also like the effort that the tagging staff makes in going out into the fishing community to personally get to know as many fishermen as possible, even fish with them, and not run the program by sitting in the office.” Brian Funai – Fishing Historian, Oahu “It is the first government related program that I can recall feeling good about its existence. I am happy my tax dollars are being used to fund this project. The fact that I can take part in information gathering and tagging aspects of the project, makes it that much more meaningful, valuable and important to me. I think the program has helped and will continue to help all jack species. “ Dr. John Kurahara – Fishermen, Oahu ”The Ulua Tagging Project has brought out people’s awareness and respect for our resources”. I have learned much about the individual L50’s for different jack species, which has helped determine sizes for release. Capt. Clay Ching – Charter Captain, Molokai “Through participation in the tagging project fishermen realize that they can make a difference about the status of our resources. Fishermen are more aware of the limits of the resources and keeping only what you need and releasing the rest is a good fishing practice. DAR’s best project!” Paul Murakawa – Aquatic Biologist, Oahu “I believe that the tagging project has really helped our resource by creating an incentive for anglers to release their catches rather than take them home. In my personal experience, without the tagging program, I would probably have kept more of the larger fish for eating. Since I started tagging I’ve caught 2 ulua and 91 papio, of these 2 ulua and 73 papio were all tagged.” Nick Lawson – Kailua Fishermen, Oahu “As a recreational fishermen tagging and releasing brings a whole new meaning, respect and feeling to fishing. I think once other fishermen get involved they will realize the benefits of taking only what you need and releasing the rest to fight another day. If the project continues good things will happen.” Casey Paet – Ulua fishermen, Oahu issue four 2010


Pelagic Fisheries Research P r o g r a m

b y J eff r ey A . M u i r


Lawaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a Magazine

One of the greatest perks of being a fisherman is the time it allows us to quietly think while waiting for hana pa’a. All of us seem to wonder about the lives and times of the fish we’re pursuing while out on the ocean. “Where do “our” tuna come from? Where do they go? How long do they hang around the FADs? Do they ever leave Hawaii? How fast do they grow and how old do they get? Has the shibi I just put in the box had a chance to spawn yet? What do they eat?”…well, it is more than just coincidence, but fisheries managers and biologists often have a similar list of questions. The answers to these and other questions are the basic tools that they need in order to provide sound advice and information necessary for the sustainable management of our ocean resources. That said, one of the greatest challenges facing fisheries managers in Hawaii and elsewhere is the scarcity of sound, accurate and regionally specific data and information about the species they are supposed to manage. For example, a study on the reproductive biology of red weke that was done in Australia may not be accurate or have little relevance to the same species in Hawaii. In fact, using that information in Hawaii could lead us astray. The same is true for wider ranging fish like tuna and marlin. To address this shortcoming of information, the Pelagic Fisheries Research Program (PFRP) was created in 1992 with funding from the National Marine Fisheries Service. The PFRP provides information on pelagic fish and fisheries to the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Council (WESPAC) from many disciplines, including biology, oceanography, statistics and modeling, bycatch, ecology, sociology, fisheries anthropology, and economics. The term ‘pelagic’ usually refers to the bluewater fish of the open sea like ahi, aku, mahimahi, billfish and the deep-sea sharks.

While many of the PFRP’s projects are well known and highly regarded in the scientific community, you may be more familiar with some of the tagging studies that PFRP has funded over the years. The Hawaii Tuna Tagging Project (HTTP) was conducted in Hawaii and surrounding areas, with study objectives to investigate and describe the movement, catch rates and stock structure of tuna in the Hawaiian EEZ and surrounding areas as well as the fisheries that compete for these resources. To accomplish this, around 18,000 plastic “dart” or “spaghetti” tags were attached to roughly equal numbers of yellowfin and bigeye tuna throughout the Hawaii EEZ all the way to Kure Atoll. Over 12.6% of these tagged tuna were later recaptured and reported to the PFRP researchers thanks mainly to Hawaiian fishermen. During the project, recaptures ranged from tuna that were recaptured on the same day as that they were released to a bigeye tuna that was at liberty for over 7.5 years! Tagged tuna were recaptured from as far away as Okinawa and Mexico, but the majority of recaptures were recovered around the Main Hawaiian Islands, on the Cross Seamount where many of the bigeye tuna were originally tagged and on anchored FADs surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). In fact, 83.1% of all the MHI recaptures were caught at FADs! Almost all of the recaptures seen in the entire study were taken on seamounts, FADs, koas or banks, which demonstrates how influential the aggregation effect is to the behavior and “catchability” of tuna. Another interesting aspect of the HTTP data was that almost every yellowfin recaptured during the entire project was recaptured within the Hawaii EEZ, suggesting that the majority of yellowfin that settle in this region remain in the Hawaii region. Bigeye recaptures ranged out further with time and were taken north, south, east and west of Hawaii by pelagic longline vessels. A fundamental difference in life history between the two species may provide at least one reason for these observed differences. Yellowfin are known to engage in a prolonged spawning season close to the Hawaiian Islands while bigeye must move well south of Hawaii before they enter their spawning grounds south of Johnston Atoll. In other words, if you have plenty of food, can grow old and spawn in a favorable environment, why leave? You can draw your own conclusion on what this means in the broader sense, especially in regards to the potential paradigm shift in the future of tuna management in Hawaii and the broader central and western Pacific. Tagging data from the HTTP clearly highlighted the incredible influence that natural and man-made structure, such as seamounts, FADs and banks have on the behavior

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of bigeye and yellowfin tuna. For example, over 81% of all tuna tag recaptures reported from the main Hawaiian Islands came from fish caught on FADs with 12% being taken on ledges or koas close to shore. The next series of studies focused on the influence of FADs on tuna behavior and their exposure to fisheries. Bigeye and yellowfin were implanted with specialized transmitter tags and all FADs around Oahu have been equipped with underwater sonic receivers since August 2002. The arrival time, departure time and continuous residence of tuna equipped with a sonic transmitter is recorded on these FAD receivers whenever it swims within about 3/4 of a nautical mile of any Oahu FAD. All fish in these studies were tagged at a receiver equipped FAD around Oahu and most were only detected at the FAD where they were originally released. Fish that moved to other FADs usually only visited one or two other FADs before they were not heard from again and apparently left Oahu for good. This may be due to the fact that the original FAD had favorable conditions and when those conditions changed an attractive FAD could not be located. When tuna did visit several FADs they tended to move clockwise around the island or moved within a FAD cluster, such as between S-R-CO or LL-U-MM. One yellowfin made 14 movements between FADs over 133 days starting at CO on the west side of Oahu and was last reported at MM off Kaneohe. On average, yellowfin remained in the Oahu FAD network for 29 days while bigeye remained only 6 days; but 35% of tagged yellowfin were recorded in the Oahu network for more than one month. The majority of tagged tuna on a FAD left that buoy at the same time or within a few days of each other but a few remained. However, it seems when a FAD lost its appeal most of the fish would leave the FAD, visit one other FAD and then were no longer recorded. Presumably they left Oahu and some tagged tuna were later recaptured on Kauai and the Big Island. What makes a FAD appealing to tuna remains a mystery that further work may reveal. Ongoing acoustic studies use special tags 34

Lawai‘a Magazine

that transmit the depth of the tagged fish every minute to the FAD mounted receivers. This data is critical to our understanding of how FADs and floating objects (like logs and cargo nets) influence the depth and behavior of tuna. The influence of FADs on tuna behavior by size and species is necessary to help design ways to avoid small tuna and bigeye tuna in particular by the large purse seine fisheries in other regions. The use of drifting FADs by purse seiners has become the main way tuna is captured worldwide with negative impacts on tuna resources and juvenile bigeye in particular. In this way, the PFRP projects are using our local FADs as important experimental grounds to provide much needed information for the management of the largescale fisheries that land the majority of tuna worldwide. Along the way, though, we are learning much about how local tuna stocks are using FADs, their migrations, and other parts of their ecology, which is important for regional and local tuna management. The next questions arose: where do these fish roam to when they leave Oahu and how long do they remain in the “Hawaiian” region? Do they leave Hawaiian waters and get swept up by purse seiners working south or east of us or do they remain in the central Pacific as the HTTP dart tag data suggested? These questions and others are being addressed by the Hawaii Tuna Tagging Project 2 (HTTP2) was funded in 2008 which also includes skipjack tuna in its analysis. HTTP2 is mainly a conventional dart tag study to update information on yellowfin and bigeye tuna and provide the first ever movement and mortality data for Hawaiian aku. The study will also target non FAD associated tuna, which may provide some insight on FADs’ affects on these free ranging schools. While the large scale conventional tagging for HTTP2 has not begun, archival and acoustic tagging is currently being conducted by PFRP scientists. These sensitive archival tags, surgically implanted in the belly cavity of the fish, record water temperature, depth, and location using an external light-sensing stalk. These tags must be recaptured and returned to download the data from the tag but a large cash reward is given to cooperating fishermen. Another useful, but expensive, tool is the satellite pop-up tag. These devices record location, temperature and depth for long periods and then detach or “pop” off of the animal and float to the sea surface. Data collected over the time it was on the animal is transmitted to satellite, and on to the

owner of the tag for analysis. The great thing about this kind of tag is that the fish does not have to be captured to be useful. However, a more complete data record can be downloaded directly from a tag, so please return PAT tags if found. Preliminary data from the HTTP2 are being compiled but more recaptures and returns of archival tags are needed before meaningful analyses can proceed. The overarching fact remains that if you stay on a FAD, your chances of getting caught are pretty good. We have received quite a few archival tag recoveries but many of these came within one week of when we tagged the fish so provided only limited and questionable data. We believe it takes a few days for a fish to resume “normal” behavior after being implanted with a computer tag so data after one week may be more important. However, some of the longer-term archival tag recoveries and depth transmitting sonic tags have provided us with some nice diving behavior plots for both yellowfin and bigeye tuna. The Pelagic Fisheries Research Program and HTTP2 will certainly have a busy year ahead of them, with goals to deploy large numbers of conventional and electronic tags around the Main Hawaiian Islands, as well as other projects in fisheries. Mahalo to all the fishermen that have recovered and reported tag recaptures; without your help none of this work would be possible. For all of you out there on the water, closely inspect your tuna for an orange or yellow tag in the back, or a plastic sensor stalk coming out of the gut area of the fish! When you do catch a tagged fish, please inspect it thoroughly (especially the gut cavity), as there may be up to 3 individual tags in the fish. When you do catch a tagged fish, please record the following information: 1) Date and position or physical location of catch, 2) Fork length and weight of the fish, 3) species, and any other notes about the catch. Each tag has our tagging hotline number printed on it, (800) 588-8066. Please leave your name, tag number and your phone number and we will get back to you as soon as possible. This is not only valuable to the HTTP2 project, but you may receive a handsome reward for the return of the tags.

If you’d like more information or have questions about the program, please visit or or contact us directly by email to David Itano (PFRP), Dr. Kevin Weng, (PFRP), Jeff Muir (PFRP), and Dr. Kim Holland (Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology/UH) issue four 2010


by sterling kaya and Laarni gedo

the best caretaker Frank Farm


Lawaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a Magazine

“Fishermen need to stay involved, keep their cool, try to see the big picture as well as the little picture, and need to be a little bit of a diplomat. We need to somehow convince the people on the other side that we desire a healthy, sustainable fishery.” This is sound advice from Frank Farm, a man who spent his entire life representing fishermen of all types in an effort to make their experiences safer, easier, and free from over-regulation and excessive government intervention. Frank began fishing as a teenager in the 1940’s. Over the years, he became knowledgeable in all types of fishing—trolling, bottom fishing, spearfishing, netting, and would eventually expand from recreational to commercial fishing. But, Frank always had a special affinity for diving. Frank grew up freedive spearfishing, but became intrigued with SCUBA (selfcontained underwater breathing apparatus) after he read about it in Popular Mechanics Magazine. So much so, immediately after it became available to the public, he and his dive partner, Al Kekoa, chipped in and bought one doublehose “Aqua Lung” from GASPRO to share between them. “We were on the deck of my 19’ redwood boat,” Frank remembers, “we jan ken po’d to see who would use it first. I believe it was about 1949 or 1950. I finally got to explore what was at the back of the caves I had previously freedove at 60-80ft. I was in such awe I didn’t spear a single fish.” As SCUBA technology progressed and more divers began to use the equipment, the need for safety education became apparent. “People were getting the bends because they weren’t properly informed or were not taking proper precautions.” Frank states. “My friend, Ed Hayashi, just became a NAUI Instructor, he and others got the divers together to instruct them and we eventually formed Alii Holo Kai Dive Club in 1972.” Alii Holo Kai With Frank as President, Alii Holo Kai, which translates “The chief that roams the sea” continued to progress and soon joined the Hawaii Council of Dive Clubs. At its peak, there were over 20 organized dive clubs in Hawaii. Frank would eventually preside over the Council and was instrumental in securing 16 team victories in the US National Spearfishing Championships. “We got involved in anything affecting diving and fishing.” Frank states. “We were now representing over 1400 divers. For example, we successfully lobbied the legislature to build a boat ramp in Hawaii Kai. Before that we were launching off the dirt.” “Walter Tamashiro of Tamashiro Market got involved with us so we gained a greater understanding about the marketplace as many of the divers were getting involved in commercial or semi-commercial activities. We successfully lobbied against the sales restriction of speared fish. It wasn’t easy.” Frank points out. “Our initial encounters with the legislature were often very comical. We had to learn how the legislature functioned, how to propose legislation and bills and how to lobby

to support them. As time went by we got more savvy, learning to become acquainted with the leadership: the Speaker of the House, the Senate President and the Chairmen of key committees.” “Dollah, dollah,” is how Frank Farm describes filling the coffers of Alii Holo Kai. It was amazing how much money we would raise. Maybe at the time the State was trying to place restrictions on SCUBA air, so all the divers got together to discuss what to do. We would just pass the hat around.”

WESPAC Frank’s leadership did not go unnoticed. The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council asked Frank to participate in committee actions. Frank signed up for an advisory committee and eventually got nominated to become a council member where he served three 3-year terms. “That’s when the picture changed.” Frank suggests. “Now you’re not just talking about the Main Hawaiian Islands, you’re talking about 200 miles out. We were dealing with foreign governments and their fishing fleets. WESTPAC was very controversial. You just can’t please everyone. You try to support the fishery, protect it and try to make it sustainable, but at the same token you try to protect America’s interest, particularly when other countries are not as restrictive. It was a real eye opener to view the fishery at that level.

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I wish I could have done more and I give credit to the good people of the council. A lot of them are misjudged by different groups because they don’t know the entire story or they are one-sided in their views. For the most part, the council members are sincere.”

FAD Buoys Frank Farm was also responsible for deploying Hawaii’s first FADs (Fish Aggregating Device). The State put out a contract to deploy the FADs and having recently purchased a 70+ foot vessel it piqued Frank’s interest. “I bid very low because this was something new.” He said, “Prior to this it was on an experimental basis. The National Marine Fisheries had one FAD out somewhere on the Banks to test if it would attract fish. And it appeared to be effective. I went real cheap on the bid because I thought this would help the fishery by attracting fish and save time for the trolling boats by giving them a fishing destination.” The buoys were made out of huge tires from the sugarcane tractors. They filled the tires to make them float. “They were monstrosities.” Frank recalls “ER Cross, Kenji Ego, Al Katekaru, Bob Nishimoto and few others from Aquatic Resources were involved.” Frank set buoys from the Big Island to Niihau. It took several excursions to deploy the FADs on the various islands. Frank viewed it as a huge learning experience. So he was happy just to break even. “We learned a lot about deploying heavy objects.” Frank remembers, “Henry Ching helped to design breakaways so we could drop the heavy anchors.” “We used to troll as we traveled and every time we hit port we would contact the local church or whatever to donate the fish to them. So we made a lot of new friends also. We also gained a good reputation with the State and the community.” Frank adds. “At least I’d like to think.”. To keep productive Frank got a USCG Masters 100 ton license and was involved in salvage operations, OTEC and other research projects for a few years before selling the vessel.

Bag Netting Fishermen are the most innovative people. Frank Farm is no exception. “Diving with Harry Uyemura, Stanley Takahashi, Kats Fujii. We would study the fish and wonder how we could catch them beside spearing them or netting them the old fashioned way with big surrounds.” He recalls. “So we started considering the fence and bag method. David Niau from Hauula was already using this type of fishing which involved setting up the nets and then guiding and controlling the fish. You needed to know which way the fish would go, plus you have to study the current because you only had a limited window when the nets would stand tall enough to complete the operation.” “In the beginning it was very interesting.” Frank laughs. “The nets


Lawai‘a Magazine

Team Hawaii at the 1978 U.S. Nationals in Tarpon Springs, FL. Bill Ernst, Frank Farm and Dennis Okada (kneeling) Tom Vinhasa, Terry Maas, John Ernst and Mark Tamura (standing)

we designed were monstrosities and it was just a comedy down there. The fish were laughing at us. Until we finally figured out how to separate the nets and learned which fish would stay within the lower part of the water column. Once we perfected one, we later figured out how to do other species.” “I remember the first time we came in with a load of weke ula and people were wondering how deep we were diving for them. But you know fishermen kind of keep it to themselves, but it was kind of deep and I guess that’s how I managed to get the bends one day.” Frank chuckles. “I knew something was wrong because the bottom half of my body got numb and I couldn’t even stand.” He recounts. Frank was rushed to the Pearl Harbor Recompression Chamber for treatment.

Hyperbaric Chamber He was told he would never walk again, but eventually recovered. Frank’s NAUI instructor friend, Ed Hayashi, was also working in the physiology Department at the University of Hawaii. He introduced Frank to Dr. Beckman and they discussed the State of Hawaii’s need for a chamber. So it was back to the Legislature. Frank Farm, the dive clubs and the University of Hawaii joined forces, successfully lobbying for initial interim funding. But there were a lot of skeptics. The recompression chamber opened in 1983 in a warehouse

at Kewalo Basin with a couple of paid employees and a bunch of volunteers. It proved successful and in 1995 a new system was installed at Kuakini Hospital. “It is a proven fact the Hyperbaric Chamber saves lives and it’s not just for bends victims, it is also useful for various other medical conditions.” Frank states. As part of the UH Medical School, he serves as the Director at the Hyperbaric Chamber at Kuakini Hospital until today.

Frank’s Message “With increased ocean activities, the competition for the resources is much greater now. The fishing community needs to keep informed, try to organize to some degree, open their minds and hearts as to how to best manage the resources. They also need to convince the other managers of the resource, whether it be the State or Fed, that we who fish and love the ocean know it quite well. Many researchers don’t have the practical experience that fishermen do. I’ve done 20,000+ dives. That’s a lot of time to study the fish. You know how they react. What they do at certain times of the year, in certain currents, during certain moon phases. You try to tie it all together. Basically you become a fish. People with this knowledge should be really involved in protecting and managing the fishery.” “It’s not to say researchers and scientist are not to be

involved. They do the best they can, but they get paid for what they do. Fishermen do it because that is what they want or need to do to feed their family or community. They are more in tune to it, I think. No offense, but I’ve seen scientists on bottom fishing trips and they don’t always fish at the most opportune times. Maybe they want to sleep at night when the fish are biting best. Whereas, the fisherman who goes out at night knows what he needs to sacrifice in order to be successful.” “This is why the fishermen need to stay involved and work together as a group. Commercial fishermen feed the public. It is unnecessary to restrict their ways when we know certain species will sustain itself. They have been for all these years because the fishermen have the knowledge to manage it responsibly. There are going to be some ‘bad eggs’ but it is everyone’s responsibility to help them along so they can do a better job in taking care of the fishery.” “We don’t want to deplete the resource, but you need to be involved or others will run right over you. Learn what you can and respect the ocean and it’s inhabitants. Contrary to the opinions of many others, the responsible, informed, and knowledgeable fisher is the best caretaker.”

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Once Upon A Landing By Neil Kanemoto

Photo by Bishop Museum

Scattered throughout the Big Islandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rugged Hamakua coastline are battered concrete, stone and steel remnant structures called landings. These landings served the sugar plantations prior to the development of motor vehicles, highways and deep draft harbors. A hose which ran from the landing to ships and barges anchored offshore would transfer molasses from a holding tank from shore to the ship. Although labor intensive and archaic in its methods, it was the best way at the time for transferring such materials along the few low lying areas along this rugged coastline.


Lawaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;a Magazine

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As modern transportation and roadways developed, the landings were no longer needed but by no means forgotten. Local residents used these landings as an access point to the ocean for fishing, diving or picking opihi. Fishing along the rugged Hamakua coastline is limited and dangerous to begin with. In addition to the limited access due to high cliff terrain, local residents in the past have had to deal with heavy tradewinds making any shoreline activity impossible, winter swells that keep the landings covered with whitewater and washed out roads from the heavy Hamakua rains. Even after all of these obstacles, there was still the issue of landowners (first the sugar plantations, now private landowners/leaseholders) locking gates that allow access to the shoreline. An issue unfortunately for many local fishermen, divers and beachgoers, these issues are not just localized to this area but throughout the state as well. Despite the hazards and difficulties, local residents and guests managed to carry on the Pa‘auilo, Fire Landing, Spring Water, Kukio, Malanahai to name a few. Moi, oio, white papio, ulua and aholehole were the prized catches. In the 1970’s, the Federal governments environmental protection laws toughened up and prevented the sugar plantations from dumping their wastewater into the ocean. As the once murky water started clearing up, divers started taking to the sea more frequently targeting big black kole, uhu, kumu, opihi and more. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THE MOI? The demise of the sugar plantations over the years not only hit the local communities hard financially with the sudden loss of jobs and income, but from a local fisherman’s perspective, took a devastating effect on the resource as well. While it is true the discharge of muddy water and waste product had covered the


Lawai‘a Magazine

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Photo by Bishop Museum

limited reef area (unlike other islands in the state most of the big island coastline drops off into deeper waters quickly) the nutrient rich waste product and muddy water served as an incredible habitat for species such as moi, white papio and oio. One longtime resident states “once the plantation closed… Junk!”. So gone are the days where the mountains of hauna (stink) bagasse (pulp-like substance leftover from the sugar cane refining process) would pile up below the cliffs and provide an artificial landmass. This artificial platform was used by local fishermen to catch moi and white papio with their cane poles by the potato-sack full. Gone are the days of using earthworms as bait for moi and papio. Gone are the days of casting into your moi hole in hopes of catching a moi or two for dinner as the former moi house is now filled with species such as po’opa’a and hinalea! Even the small black “tobacco” eels that would frequently bite your hook and constantly tangle up your line are no longer present. It is speculated either they lost their food sources or dark bodies are now easy prey for the bands of omilu that patrol the now clear waters causing them to seek other habitat.


Lawai‘a Magazine

WHERE WE GOING FISH NOW? The most popular landing off of one of the sugar mills was also the most accessible. Affectionately known as the “Landing” by the locals, it was famous for the “moi pond” directly in front of it – a shallow boulder-strewn elevated shoal covered with whitewater, with a deep drop off surrounding it. Off the ledges in deeper water, the fishermen would cast for ulua, oio, white papio or taape. Although gates were often locked making access occasionally prohibited (someone making pilikia by stealing parts from the sugar mill, its vehicles or rustling an occasional cattle or two from the surrounding leased pasture areas) either the former plantation’s kindness or the volume of local residents complaining about access would allow the gates to be unlocked again. The Landing unfortunately will not be with us for long. Years of pounding from the ferocious north winter swells has undermined its base and caused most of it to collapse into the moi hole. Local fishermen predict that the remaining section may not last another season of high surf. For these locals, it only means another lost fishing spot. “To fish this area effectively you need to be at a high point” says a Hamakua local who grew up fishing this coastline. “Once the landing is

gone, it would be nearly impossible to fish from the lower level due to the dangerous surf and surge. Even if you were fishing from a higher point farther back it would be difficult to bring up any fish at all from the pond over all the boulders.” Further down the coastline he said, another favorite spot the locals called “Banana Gulch” slid into the ocean back in the early 90’s. Statewide local fishermen are losing more and more fishing grounds due to government agencies or private landowners blocking our access. In this case however, mother nature is the unfortunate culprit and soon will have eliminated access to one of our most cherished and productive fishing holes. “MA, WE GOING DOWN THE LANDING?” Only time will tell what level of access will be provided along the Hamakua coastline for fishing. After the last plantation folded, Bishop Estate scooped up the remains and sold off or sub-let much of these areas. While many areas are currently blocked off, the kindness and generosity of some of the current landowners or leaseholders still allow local fishermen access to their longtime grounds. Should they ever change their minds however, gone forever will be the days the words “Ma, we going down the landing…” will be spoken, only to be replaced by stories of “Once upon a time….”

issue four 2010







“Maunalua Bay is still a favorite octopus (he‘e or tako) fishing grounds for many.” Photo by Frank Davey, Bishop Museum


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you were born after 1959, it is hard to imagine how Hawaii’s unique konohiki system worked so perfectly. The old timers glowingly reminisce about shorelines black from the schooling mullet. Those were the days when everyone respected the experts who meticulously managed the konohiki. I know the doubters will say that these are just fish stories. Others are under the impression that the system only worked in the days of horrific punishments like eye gouging or instant death. Could it really have worked so brilliantly in the modern era? If it was so great then why would we get rid of it? I like to compare the konohiki fishery to the Hayden mango tree behind my old home in Kuli’ou’ou. Like Old Faithful, huge juicy mangos were pumped out every summer. All the kids on Summer Street loved that tree. Generations of the neighboring Ho’opi’i’s remember it as the source of their tutu’s mango chutney. Nobody ever imagined it would stop. Granted there were challenges. Occasionally I would look out the window and find strangers picking without permission. One infamous day, I awoke to a large immigrant family armed with sticks and rocks, attempting to pick every last mango. When I came outside, they paused. Thinking they were going to ask permission, imagine my surprise when they asked for extra bags! These days the giving tree is nothing but oozing sap and sawdust. Completely gone. “When Mrs. Kau, the elderly landlady, passed the management to her daughter she had it hacked down due to liability” the tenant told me recently shaking his head. Similar to the mango tree destruction is the danger of erasing our fishing traditions due to ignorance. It’s tough to ignore the constant headlines blaming fishermen for fishery declines or monk seals dying. However, let’s not make the mistake of pushing out the kupuna who grew up learning how to sustain a thriving fishery. These are the first people that we need to hear from when we talk about moving ahead. Today the word fisherman often implies fish removal. This contrasts to the konohiki era where much of the time was spent stocking protected fishponds with juveniles to ensure a healthy fishery. A good model to look at is Maunalua Bay, O’ahu. It was here that the

ancient konohiki rights were still in effect until the time of Statehood. As late as the fifties and sixties, enormous working fishponds like Keahupua-o-Maunalua (the largest in Polynesia) were thriving. Outside the ponds, the konohiki rights extending to the reef were carefully managed by legendary figures like Joe Lukela at Maunalua, Mary Lucas at Niu and Mr. Paiko at Kuli’ou’ou. They put seasonal and locational kapus on the ‘anae and akule to ensure their survival. Anybody could have predicted that removing their regulatory authority and the generations of knowledge they embodied would be problematic. However, fewer and fewer are left to explain how the fishery worked prior to the condemnation of konohiki rights.

The Niu Konohiki

One of the key elements of the system was communal respect for the konohiki of each area. Retired Aina Haina dentist Joe Young grew up working the Maunalua Fishpond from 1937 to 1947. He recalls fondly how Mother Lucas chased off his father’s fishing gang as they gathered juvenile mullet to stock the pond. Mrs. Lucas, a descendant of high ali’i was quite upset that they had not asked her permission to fish at Niu. The problem was resolved when his Chinese father returned with a gift of fish and spoke with her in Hawaiian. After that they could visit the area without problems.

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“The advent of 20th Century Western ways brought the end of the Konohiki system of ocean management specific to area divisions shown in this map.”

The Maunalua Konohiki

Strict protection of the fish was another element of the konohiki system. Joe Lukela was famous for carrying a shotgun on the beach to regulate poachers who ignored the rules. Although harsh by today’s standards, the old style was highly effective. When the akule schools were in, Lukela would place white flags in the area so that boats would avoid the area and not disturb the fish. In an interview before his death, Lukela’s fishing companion John Rosa spoke about the impact of Henry Kaiser’s elimination of the konohiki. “There were so many people coming here abusing the konohiki. The advertisement saying that Maunalua Bay was good for fishing and skiing. We used to stop them from skiing. Then the fish started to Ruin, Ruin, Ruin. No more mullets like there used to be. The chemical from all these people killed the bay- seaweed, fish. This place used to be one of the greatest fishing areas in the Islands. If you want to go and find out, the Fish and Game they have the records. We used to catch fish by the ton, mullet and akule”. An important thing to remember about the system was that it did not ban all fishing. Mr. Rosa explained it like this, “There were others fishing in the Bay but they couldn’t catch the konohiki fish. There were no kuleanas living here so if you own the land, you have a place to fish. The guy with the rights has to name one fish. Used to be the chief or king. If you catch 3 fish one was for the boss (konohiki)...It could change, sometimes mullet, sometimes akule”.

The Paiko Konohiki

In addition to values of respect and conservation, those who held the konohiki were immersed in cultural knowledge and the proper use of the region’s resources. A fascinating account posted on the Aina Haina Community Association website is told by long time Aina Haina resident Gregg Kashiwa. He recalls growing up at the end of the konohiki era and learning from Mr. Ewaliko, the Kia’i for the Paiko Konohiki. “He was a very big guy. I always pictured him as a Hawaiian warrior. While stern, as I got to know him he told me many things about Wailupe. He taught me never to pull the ogo roots off the rocks so it would grow back, and to break up all the bubbly branches and throw them back because these were the ogo seeds”. Mr. Ewaliko shared with Kashiwa traditional names like “Pa’a Ha’a” for the shoreline lands between Wailupe Peninsula and the Paiko


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konohiki and “Kohola” (whale) for Koko Head. He warned him to never play in the burial caves at Wailupe Valley because of “obake”. Kashiwa vividly remembers the wood barrel of poi that Mr. Ewaliko had in his kitchen. Mr. Ewaliko would trade fresh fish for fresh Wailupe poi which was considered the best. “The system worked” Kashiwa recollects in the memoir. “The fish pond known as Paiko Lagoon served as a natural hatchery for mullet and nehu...Most of the mullet in Kuapa Pond were taken from the mud flats in front of Kuliouou Park and put into the pond. The nehu and iao fed the akule fishery off of Portlock. Paiko enforced its Ahupua’a Konohiki fishing rights until after Statehood”. “The Konohiki began at Niu Peninsula and extended west (Ewa up to the small rock wall at Kawaiku’i Beach Park). Directly seaward from that wall, a sign was posted in the ocean half way out to the breakers. It read, PAIKO KONOHIKI#2, NO FISHING and delineated the Paiko Konohiki west boundary. The entire area was teeming with mullet and I recall throw netting there every day after school.” Wise use of natural resources even extended to the water they drank under the konohiki system. “Sweet” water was taken from “a cistern near the Pu’uikena jug handle, fed and cooled by an artesian spring that flowed out of a small cave in the limestone shoreline recalls Kashiwa. “They (the Ewaliko’s) never used City water, and all lived long lives. I always drank water there when fishing or lay in the cold water to cool off on hot days. A third of the mullet caught were left in the cistern for Paiko “taxes.” These were then collected daily by Mr. Ewaliko and taken to the River Street fish market”. Similar to the current neglect of the fishery, Kawaiku’i Spring now lies collapsed with just traces of its former icy flow. Only an old wall remains to tell the story of the konohiki system that is rapidly fading with its last generation. We are fortunate to have Mr. Kashiwa and folks like him who have managed to keep the memory alive all these years. To this day Kashiwa keeps his lead fishing tag stamped Paiko Konohikiki #2, as a memento of those early days. With time of the essence, let’s put aside the finger pointing about responsibility for our fishery decline. If we are serious about restoring our fish, let’s learn all we can from this brilliant model while we still have kupuna willing to share it with us.

“While there are many things about the konohiki system that were good, such as the intimate knowledge of the nearshore ecosystem and consistent monitoring of it, we cannot ever forget that we are living in today and not yesteryear where societal and cultural norms were quite different. At the same time, there is much about the konohiki system that would be undesirable in today’s world, most notable being private control of resources that are supposed to be managed for the benefit of all people of the State of Hawaii. Although there may be a few calling for the wholesale return to the old system, most are cautious when talking about it and know that a similar system, if implemented, must be put into the proper context of managing today.   Further, many do not realize there were two types of konohiki systems: one prior to the Great Mahele of 1848 and the westernized system that followed, when individuals could buy and own land. Upon purchase, the landowner by default became the konohiki for the waters fronting his lands. This did not necessarily guarantee that the landowner or his designated konohiki was effective or possessed the vast  knowledge of konohiki from the previous system. Some feel this is where greed arose and that some of these so called konohiki, solely by ownership of land, had the power to pick certain species for their own. When the particular specie showed and a call went out to gather fishermen knowledgeable in the art of that particular fish, the fishermen selected were usually the owner’s preferred or those that would pay the greater share. This also explains early accounts of Hawaiian  fishermen paying shares to doctors or judges and wealthy foreign landowners.  As one Native Hawaiian fisherman put it: “Now, what about the konohiki system before the Great Mahele - then I would agree. This authority came with nearly zero corruption, and in many ahupuaa, the maka‘ainana (or the commoners) had affection  and great Aloha for their konohiki.  Maka‘ainana could roam between konohiki as the better konohoki were more productive in farming and held more abundant fishing grounds, etc.” This is not to say all post-Great Mahele konohiki were motivated by greed but there were many that managed with objectives other than sustainability due to the introduction of Western style commerce and land ownership.  

Lawai‘a Editorial Board

issue four 2010


Bamboo Ridge, one of the most well known ulua fishing spots on the island of Oahu, has been the second home to hundreds of fishermen over the years. A few of them frequented the beloved fishing spot on such a regular basis that they inherited the nickname, “Mayor of Bamboo Ridge”. By their familiarity of the place or by virtue of simply being able to manage people, these particular shorecasters took on the role of orchestrating what can sometimes be one of the most complicated events in our Hawaii style of fishing: a “full house” during the prime moon phase of ulua season. Some were notorious for running a very tight ship and with an iron hand, instructing new fishermen about the art of fishing in a crowd and in general, keeping order, cleanliness and civility at one of the most popular fishing holes on the island. Some were feared while others were more like ambassadors that handled the job with skillful tact. I was fortunate to sit down and talk on several occasions with the late Masami “Patrick” Akiyama, one of the earliest “Mayors”, long after he had hung up his rods and reels. Shorecasters that frequented Bamboo Ridge in the late 1940s and early 1950s had ironed out some “rules” for fishing at Bamboo Ridge to make it possible for everyone to have an equal chance at catching fish. This was the only way to allow fishing to occur in a civil manner where a lot of people fish in very close quarters. Pat Akiyama’s run as “Mayor of Bamboo Ridge” spanned from the late 1950s to the early 1970s, during which time he dutifully held up these “rules” and established traditions with efficiency and no-nonsense. The stories that he shared with me are for another day but for now, these are a few photos from Pat’s time that we would like to share courtesy of the late Pat Akiyama and family.


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In 1971, Pat was presented this award by the Ridge “regulars” for his service and dedication as Mayor of Bamboo Ridge. Pat stands in front of the Molokai-facing, “Sandside” portion of the point along with his grandson. Shortly after this, Pat handed the torch to the next in a long line of fishermen to take on the name, Mayor of Bamboo Ridge.

During the winter months, Bamboo Ridge fishermen pass the time waiting for ulua season by fishing for “small game”. Pat Akiyama spent many a day at “The Ridge” even when the ulua were not running. On one of those lucky days, he landed this monstrous 15 lb oio (bonefish).

Shorecasting clubs often held gatherings or “outings” during the small game season of Bamboo Ridge. A long time member of the Pacific Casting Club, Pat is shown here (front, far left) with fellow club members during an annual outing. Identified left to right are: Pat, Harry Kozuki, James Ogawa, Shigemi “Wamba” Yamasaki, George Tsue, George’s son (front), three unknown boys (back), Fred Kajioka, Oshiro, and Richard Murakawa.

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Hawaii Fishing & Seafood Festival photos





here can you find over 20,000 of Hawaii’s fishing and seafood enthusiasts enjoying a day of informative fishing workshops, interactive demonstrations, colorful fish displays, live local entertainment, keiki fish games, ono local seafood and tons of shopping opportunities? Or, climb on the biggest fishing reel in the world and then duck under deck to check out the powerful motors that drive a Hawaii longline tuna boat? Or, find giggling kids running after a 5 foot silver fish for photos and then diving into an ice-filled life raft to construct a tropical snowman? Where can you find all of this and, best of all, find it for FREE? Once again, it was all at the 4th Annual Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival that was held on October 11th at the Honolulu Fishing Village, Pier 38. The Pacific Islands Fishery Group (PIFG) themed its 2009 festival to honor Hawaii’s Fishing and Seafood Heritage. Based on the tremendous turnout, Hawaii’s fishing and seafood heritage continues to be alive and strong! This year we honored one of Hawaii’s favorite fishing celebrities, Mike Sakamoto, who recently lost his battle to cancer. The Sakamoto Gallery featured his wonderful watercolor


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and oil paintings, multimedia production work and fishing legacy. Sales from the Gallery, along with proceeds from the Mike Sakamoto Memorial Tournament held in September 2009, will contribute to a Memorial Scholarship Fund in his name that was established by PIFG and the Sakamoto family. The Scholarship will be made available to students pursuing degrees in natural or marine sciences, oceanography or related fields. For more information, visit www. PIFG also took the “fish auction” up a notch by hosting a live auction of original gyotaku fish prints by local artist Naoki. Auctioneer, Nelson Aberilla, brought the standing room only crowd to a frenzy while auctioning a couple dozen of Naoki’s best framed and unframed pieces. The custom framed tako, which is the Festival’s famed mascot, initiated the frenzy and eventually sold for more than $700. A percentage of the proceeds were donated to PIFG to support their numerous community programs, such as the State-wide Tagging Challenge, fishing outings with Boys and Girls Clubs and cooperative research projects. If you missed us this year, mark your calendars and be sure to join us next year for our 5th anniversary Festival to be held on October 10, 2010 at Pier 38. Special activities and programs are being planned to celebrate our 5th Annual Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival. If you are interested in participating as a vendor, contributor or volunteer, contact us through our website at

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By John Clark


f you have a map of Oahu or even better a copy of Bryan’s Sectional Maps of O‘ahu, see if you can find these three streets: KaHanahou Circle, Mikiola Drive, and Miomio Loop. You’ll see that each one of them is in a residential community on the shoreline of Kaneohe Bay. But each one of these streets shares something more in common than providing access to homes of Windward residents. Each one of them marks the location of a former traditional Hawaiian fishpond of the same name, which during the 1900s was filled in to create new waterfront property, the same fate suffered by almost every other fishpond on Oahu. When Gilbert McAllister wrote Archaeology of Oahu in 1932, he included an introductory section on loko i‘a, or fishponds, and noted that “there are more of these ponds on O‘ahu than on any of the other islands, probably because of the irregular coast line, with sheltering bays and inlets on the shallow coral reefs. I have obtained information on 97 ponds, many of which no longer exist. “ McAllister went on to say that the largest concentration of ponds was found in Pearl Harbor, while other large groups of ponds were found off Moanalua, Kalihi, and Kaneohe Bay. Today on O‘ahu, less than a dozen have survived, and only a few are in active use and under restoration, such as Waikalua Loko on Kaneohe Bay. A longtime student of Hawaiian fishponds is Dr. Clyde Tamaru, an Aquaculture Extension Specialist in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. Dr. Tamaru received his Ph.D. from the University 54

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of Tokyo in 1988, writing his doctoral thesis on mullet and milkfish, the two species that were most commonly raised in traditional fishponds. In addition to consulting on many public and private aquaculture projects, he is a member of the Asian Fisheries Society, the Hawaiian Aquaculture Association, the Waikalua Fishpond Preservation Society, the Honolulu Aquarium Society, and the World Aquaculture Society. The following are some of his thoughts on the state of traditional Hawaiian fishponds in Hawaii today. JC: Let’s start with the resurgence of interest in fishponds in the 1970s. CT: In the early days of the Hawaiian Renaissance in the 1970s, a number of attempts were made to restore fishponds and make them productive. Fishponds are a very efficient way to make animal protein, but one of the big issues from the start was that there was an emphasis on making them commercially productive. Fishpond restoration and maintenance are labor intensive operations, and even when some of the ponds were up and running, they couldn’t produce the quantities of fish to make them commercially viable. They were designed for a time and place that does not exist today, and in the 20th century, it was just too hard to compete with all the other sources of fish on the market, including modern aquaculture. Eventually, all these large-scale efforts at commercial fishpond production died out. JC: Then what is the value of fishponds today if it’s not the commercial production of fish?

CT: The fishponds connect us to the past. They are a link to traditional Hawaiian culture. They give people an opportunity to experience what life was like in a traditional island subsistence society. Working in the fishponds is a valuable handson experience. It teaches people how to work together and instills stewardship of the land and sea. This is especially important for children today. Most of them are raised in urban environments and they’re totally into television and electronic devices. Visiting or working in fishponds are important opportunities to show them that there’s more to life than screens and keypads. JC: What are some of the success stories of fishpond restoration and its impact here in Hawaii? CT: Waikalua Loko in Kaneohe is one of the success stories. In addition to everything we’ve already indentified, it also provides cultural based education for native Hawaiians and other students. The fishpond is used as the basis for developing curricula in science, culture, and art. Hopefully, one of the things it will do is stimulate interest in the marine sciences, especially among native Hawaiians. JC: Any final thoughts on Hawaiian fishponds? CT: Loko i‘a are unique cultural treasures. They allow the people of Hawaii, especially our children, to tune in with the natural processes and to absorb traditional knowledge and values. This may prove to be more important than all the fish that were ever produced in these ancient structures.


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Gear reviews by e d wata m u r a

V Series Okuma Reel/ Shimano Trevala Rod

Release Tool Most of us use a dehooker when we catch akule, but what about when we catch big fish? The Offshore Angler Release Tool saves your fingers from razor sharp ono teeth, deep hooked mahimahi, or those nasty hapu’upu’u gills. You can also use it while the fish is in the water for a less traumatic tag and release. It is constructed with 420 stainless steel and an ergonomic rubber coated handle. It comes in 14-1/2, 21, and 36 inch lengths. Another excellent tool to throw in your gaff tray.

M-Y Wedge

The M-Y Wedge

solves your Outboard Motor trailering problems by supporting your motor without the use of the inconvenient transom saver. You simply slide the M-Y Wedge over the hydraulic rams and tilt down until snug. It is so easy and convenient in addition to being small and easy to store. They make the M-Y Wedge to fit virtually all makes of engines and will work on any boat. The product is made in the U.S.A. and comes with a 1-year limited warranty. All I can say after using it for a while is “it is an awesome product”. Check out the website: for more info and compatibility to your specific needs.


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As some of you fishermen have already found out, butterfly or deep jigging is a great addition to your arsenal of fishing techniques. Whether you are at the FADs or the ahi koa, fishing the water column just makes sense. After all, the fish aren’t always at the surface. The technology of braided lines has allowed us to fish for “da big guys” with smaller reels and lighter rods, even spinning reels. I am reviewing two products that are designed for this method of fishing. The first is the V Series spinning reels by Okuma. These reels are the result of a multi national development project and feature a patented EOS elliptical oscillating drive gear system. The oscillating action causes superior line lay while maintaining stability because the gears are constantly engaged during the two stroke oscillation. The V Series also sports a twin drag system. One large drag washer under the spool and the traditional multi disc one on top of the spool. The dual system results in a much smoother and stronger drag. These reels contain up to 16 bearings and are all double shielded stainless steel and high density ceramic balls for excellent corrosion resistance and durability. They also come with a folding handle, spare spool, cloth bag, and an unprecedented 5 year warranty. So in conclusion, if you find it difficult to fork over the $800 for a Shimano Stella, give this reel a spin. The Shimano Trevala Series of rods are specifically designed for butterfly or deep jigging. They are built for power and strength to handle braided lines and yet they are lightweight. The rod blanks utilize Shimano’s TC 4 Construction, triple wrapped new concept Fuji Alconite or Hardloy guides, and a Fuji reel seat. They also sport an ergonomic grip, after all when you’re fighting “da big one”, you need all the help you can get. I personally fished the TVS58XXH on the Big Island at the C Buoy and the Hookena ahi koa and I can definitely attest to all the claims that Shimano makes about these rods. For more info about butterfly jigging check out Mike Hill’s “Butterfly Jigging 101”.


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AN O P EN LETTER TO HAWAII ’S FISHERMEN BY J o h n K a n e ko MS , DVM H o n o lu lu, H awa i i

Concerned about Mercury in Fish? Health messages seem to conflict— encouraging us to eat more seafood for a healthy heart but at the same time to avoid seafood that contains mercury. Let’s consider the evidence. Mercury in Fish advisories. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a joint advisory in 2004 specifically for pregnant women and young children to limit their exposure to methylmercury from eating certain types of fish. There are no advisories for


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the rest of the population. It’s important to know that a 10-fold safety factor is built into this advisory. The advice is to eat no more than 1 meal of tuna steak per week. What this means is that there is no scientific evidence of harm from eating 10 meals per week. The EPA/FDA advisory recommends that all fish consumption be limited to no more than 2 meals per week regardless of mercury content. But, this recommendation is contradicted by many other studies and health guides. Fish is part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Numerous studies have

demonstrated the health benefits of eating seafood. A long-term and very large study in England evaluated about 8,000 children born to mothers that ate fish during pregnancy. This study showed for the first time that children of women that limited fish consumption to 2 meals of fish per week or less fell into the lowest 25% in verbal IQ and other standard testing scores. This study raises serious questions about the EPA/FDA recommendation and the possibility that the advisory is causing women to avoid the health benefits of seafood and may actually be harming their children. The

Lawaia Ad 11/09 for Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council

Success depends on you!

Ecosystem-based Management of Fisheries in the US Pacific Islands

Are You a Fisherman, Diver or Ocean User? If you are not a player in making ďŹ shery decisions, THE DECISIONS WILL BE MADE FOR YOU.

DID YOU KNOW that the blue-lined snapper (taape), which aggregates on Hawaii reefs, was purposefully introduced in 1950 and now resides on many of the Hawaiian Islands, including the Northwestern Islands. Some fishermen say taape competes with native species for food and habitat. However, a Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council-supported study found no clear evidence that taape competes with native goatfish or eats young goatfish to an extent harmful to the species. More research may be needed.

GET INVOLVED! To learn how, contact the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council at (808) 522-8220, email, or go to Funding support for this ad provided by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program.

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average seafood consumer in the US eats less than 1 fish meal per week. This study indicates that we should be eating more, not less seafood What evidence is the EPA/FDA advisory based on? The Faroe Islands Study detected a statistical correlation between lower developmental testing scores of children and their mothers’ exposure to dietary mercury during pregnancy. However, 90% of the mercury in the diet was from pilot whale meat. We do not eat whale meat in the US, and pilot whales are not fish. The Faroe Islands Ministry of Health immediately warned women to avoid eating pilot whale meat during pregnancy but to continue to eat fish, because of the need for essential long-chained omega-3 fatty acids for the developing brain. However, the EPA/FDA chose to make the fish consumption advisory for pregnant women based on the pilot whale diet study because they had no evidence of mercury harm from actually eating fish. What about real fish eaters? Seychelles Islanders are heavy fish eaters. In the Seychelles Islands Study, women ate 12 meals of ocean fish per week during pregnancy. No evidence of harm could be found after regular testing of their children up to the age of 9. EPA and FDA could not use this study to develop the advisory because no harmful effects were found that are needed to assign risk. Some of the children with the highest mercury exposure had higher testing scores. Does mercury

make you smart? No, but something else in fish does. In this study (as for most people) mercury accumulation is merely an indicator of ocean fish consumption. Finding elevated hair mercury levels is not the same thing as mercury poisoning. So what might explain the outcomes of Seychelles Islands Study? Ocean fish contain health promoting nutrients. We know that long-chained omega 3 fatty acids are essential for brain development in children, and brain function and heart health later in life. But ocean fish are also known to be rich sources of selenium, an essential mineral nutrient that has critical anti-oxidant functions in the brain. USDA reports that 17 of the top 25 food sources of selenium in the American diet are ocean fish. Selenium-mercury interactions. As early as the 1960’s researchers first reported that selenium and mercury bind together strongly and form an inert complex, mercury selenide. When selenium is in excess of mercury in foods, the symptoms of mercury poisoning are not present. In 1972, a study published in Science reported that yellowfin tuna protected against mercury toxicity when added to the diet of animals fed artificially high levels of mercury. Further studies into the early 1980’s concluded that the rich levels of selenium and selenium’s mercury neutralizing effects explained why we still have

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We guarantee you’ll love all of our fresh seafood* or We’’ll Double Your Money Back**! *Seafood guarantee applies to the fresh seafood items in the service and self-service cases. Pre-packaged UPC labeled items and any frozen tray packed seafood products are excluded.** Proof of purchase required to receive double money back. Other restrictions may apply. See stores for details.


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not seen an outbreak of mercury poisoning from eating open ocean fish. Ever. Anywhere. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not have reports of confirmed cases of mercury poisoning on record from eating ocean fish. The importance of Selenium and Mercury ratios in fish. The protective effects of selenium on mercury toxicity have been demonstrated in every animal model tested to date. For this reason, the selenium to mercury ratio in foods is the most important factor to consider, not just the mercury content alone. Hawaii’s open ocean fish are the first to have been evaluated for selenium to mercury ratios. A 2007 study in Hawaii documented that the 14 most common open ocean fish contained an excess of selenium over mercury. Only the mako shark, rarely caught or eaten in Hawaii, contained more mercury than selenium. Most of Hawaii’s fish including tuna and billfish are a good source of health-promoting selenium and more likely to help prevent mercury toxicity than contribute to it. What is the difference between pilot whale meat and ocean fish? It turns out that Faroe Islands’ pilot whale meat contains not only much higher mercury levels than our ocean fish, but also contains much more mercury than selenium. While Hawaii’s ocean fish are more likely to prevent mercury toxicity, pilot whale meat is more likely to cause it. So is mercury in fish dangerous or not? The only record of outbreaks of mercury poisoning from eating seafood occurred in Minamata Bay and later in Niigata Japan in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But these outbreaks were caused by extremely high levels of mercury accumulated in fish and shellfish and very high seafood consumption rates. The source of the mercury in both cases was uncontrolled mercury pollution from chemical manufacturing plants and NOT natural levels of mercury like those found in open ocean fish. We now know that in these tragic cases, mercury levels in the seafood far exceeded the selenium levels. Consumers should be concerned about any fish that may contain mercury from industrial pollution because levels may exceed selenium levels and present a potential health risk. Our focus of concern should shift from open ocean fish that contain natural environmental background levels of mercury to freshwater fish in the vicinity of mercury pollution such as coal fired power plants, and gold and mercury mining, that may contain very high levels of mercury exceeding selenium. Ocean fish is health food. The overwhelming evidence continues to confirm that the known health benefits of fish consumption far outweigh the adverse effects of the levels of mercury found in open ocean fish. At this time, the real concern is that women are being scared away from eating fish during pregnancy by the EPA/FDA advisory and that they may be depriving their children of essential and health promoting nutrients. The question should be… “Are you getting enough selenium and omega 3’s?”

issue four 2010


tribute K e a h i h o ku Lu m

Freediving was a passion for Keahihoku Lum and though he is no longer with us, he will always be remembered for his “never give up” attitude. Keahi was a humble teenager growing up in Kalihi. He never complained and made the best of every opportunity. Keahi never passed up an invitation to go diving unless he had to take care of his grandma, mom, or younger sister. Keahi started freediving when he was 15 years old. Close diving friends remember Keahi coming out for the first time with a yellow mask, a huge snorkel, and body-surfing fins. He didn’t have a wetsuit to keep him warm, no belt/ weights to steady him…just a rash guard tank top, board shorts, and a borrowed 3-prong. Keahi began to watch Hawaii Skin Diver and dreamed of catching an “Ulua” one day. He visited the local dive shops often to learn more about diving, safety regulations, and hopefully find some secret diving spots. One of Keahi’s close diving partners realized how much Keahi loved diving, so he gave Keahi a wetsuit, diving fins, belt/weights, buoy, kui, and a speargun. Keahi didn’t catch anything the first couple of times, but he never gave up. Keahi’s diving partner remembers the first fish he speared because he was so thrilled and even more excited to cook the fish for his family. With all the proper gear, his first catch, and the heart to never give up, Keahi excelled in freediving. On October 4, 2009, Keahi and two of his close diving partners went to China Walls. The water was clean and


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calm….perfect diving conditions. They suited up and Keahi attached his tagline and buoy to his speargun, then said a short prayer before they jumped into the water. They swam to the 3 rocks, which was how they started their path on the reef. One of the diver’s spear got stuck in the rocks so he cut his line and swam back to get another speargun. Keahi and the other diver decided to continue to dive about 10 yards from the 3 rocks. They had just taken a dive down to check out the fishes below and returned to the surface to take a breath. Keahi’s dive partner went down again while Keahi watched. Keahi’s diving partner speared a fish and came up to the surface and signaled to Keahi that there were a lot of fish below them. Keahi was preparing to dive down when his dive partner recalls hearing a motor sound and before he could turn he was hit from behind… his mask and gun were ripped from him. Keahi’s partner was able to resurface and after the water settled, he saw Keahi without his mask, gun, and buoy. They were about 200 feet from China Walls when a 26ft boat, heading out to sea, ran them over. Keahi sustained wounds that he would not recover from…..he was only 17 years old. Keahi is missed by his family and diving friends…there is an emptiness when we look at the ocean now….no more memories to be made and one less loved one at the table to share fishing stories with….but we will be forever grateful for the memories we do have of a humble teenager who came to love diving because of all the great divers who inspire him. To all the divers, much aloha.

issue four 2010





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Issue 4 of Lawai'a Magazine