I am writing to encourage everyone who cares about Hawaii’s oceans and its people’s well-being to learn more about the Moʻomomi Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area (CBSFA) proposal on Molokaʻi and to support it like you would if it was your own backyard.
Prior to COVID-19 we were always busy, not spending enough time with our ʻOhana. In our current COVID-19 world we have had the opportunity to step back, regain consciousness, and find clarity. We’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with childhood memories and create new memories with our ʻOhana. Growing up in Lāhaina, my grandfather would dive and fish every day to feed our extended family. Grandma would put in the order for fish, and Grandpa would fulfill the list. It was always a different order every day. He could normally fill the order in 30 minutes due to the abundance, diversity of fish, and resource knowledge. But he would stay out for hours, being connected to everything around him. I remember seeing how big the fish were and how the sink would be filled with different colors. This was in the 70s. As I started to dive in the 80s, I could already see the decline in size and abundance of fish. In the 2000s, studies showed that our reef in Lāhaina was one of the poorest in the state when it comes to target species availability (the fish you like eat). It’s a sad story that I hope no one else will ever have to recount.
I have known Uncle Mac Poepoe, one of the many people working towards this CBSFA designation, since 2012, and over the years I have had the privilege to walk coast lines along Maui Nui with him, listening to his observations. He is a man of integrity and deep-seated knowledge that can only be acquired with time and a foundation laid by Kūpuna. He reminds me of my grandfather, a strong Hawaiian pono fisherman. A steward of cultural responsibility and integrity to maintain the right to share nature’s resources.
It is clear that government, alone, is not able to effectively manage our coastal resources. Equally we are not able to do it alone either, because of the abolished Konohiki and Kapu systems. Furthermore, blanketed State rules often do not work for all communities. Therefore, it is imperative that a co-managed system within our laws be given an opportunity to thrive. Uncle Mac Poepoe and Hui Mālama O Moʻomomi have done the research over the past 30 years. They have the baseline studies, they have broad community support, they have the knowledge, and they have earned the right to effectively co-manage their back yard.
There is a Hawaiian saying, “I ka wa mamua, ka wa mahope.” The future can be found in the wisdom of the past. Now, more than ever, we need to listen to our Kūpuna, for those who are not yet born! Our future deserves something better than what we currently have. It is up to each of us to do what is right while in nature. Let us not tell the story of what used to be, let us be a part of what is!
I ask everyone who has read this to please submit your letter of support to CBSFA@hawaii.gov by August 26, 2020. It doesn’t have to be a long letter. A simple letter, saying “I support Hui Mālama O Moʻomomi in their efforts to acquire a CBSFA designation.” If you would like to learn more, visit https://www.facebook.com/malamamoomomi/ to view the Support the Mo‘omomi Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area Facebook page.
Edwin “Ekolu” Lindsey
Maui Cultural Lands, Inc.
Mobile: (808) 276-5593
Image courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/malamamoomomi/