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Marine degradation spurs Maui proposal


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POSTED: Sunday, February 01, 2009

HANA, Maui » Maui resident Felimon Sadang said he's in favor of a state proposal to manage fishing in the Kaanapali area if it helps to restore the reef system to its former condition.

  ;  “;The fishing is not like before. ... Something's got to be done,”; said Sadang, a commercial fisherman for 40 years.

State aquatic officials have scheduled a public hearing Wednesday on a proposed a ban on the harvesting of fish that eat algae in a portion of Kaanapali.

A presentation at the Lahaina Civic Center is scheduled from 5:30 to 6 p.m., followed by the public hearing.

The Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area would span nearly two miles from Black Rock at Kekaa Point northward to Honokowai Park and extend seaward ranging from 335 yards on the southern end to 1,292 yards on the northern boundary.

State officials want to ban the taking of sea urchins and herbivore fish, such as parrotfish or uhu, and tangs or surgeonfish.

State aquatics education specialist Russell Sparks said that within the proposed management area, about 50 percent of the reef has disappeared in the past 12 to 13 years.

Sparks said part of the reason has been the seasonal growth of invasive algae.

He said protecting the fish that eat the algae will help to protect the reef and help in its restoration.

“;We don't feel it's too late,”; Sparks said.

Brian Yoshikawa, a member of the Maui Nui Marine Resources Council, said his group supports the proposal.

“;I think it's a great idea,”; he said.

Sadang said he's willing to make the sacrifice but wants others who live on coastal lands to make an effort as well and to reduce chemical pollutants, such as fertilizers, from resort and residential areas.

“;What you bring down to the sea is not natural,”; he said.