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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, September 7, 2000

Aku fishermen
want to catch
bait at Keehi

Question: I am a retired aku fisherman. I sent a letter to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources on April 19 but haven't had a response to a simple question. Can you make the inquiry?

Basically, the aku fishery includes the use of bait fish to harvest tuna, and aku boats have traditionally caught bait fish from various shallow waters, including Keehi Small Boat Harbor. At Keehi, one of the prime baiting areas is at the shallow area between the dry dock and the Department of Transportation's wharf -- a non-traffic area best described as a dead end.

A few years ago, a harbor agent told fishermen they could not catch bait there, although the Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation indicated there was no law restricting the activity, per se. So fishermen, without disrupting traffic, continued to harvest bait fish there.

Then, on April 9, the crew of an aku boat was told they could not catch bait there and lost one work day. I was told that the Division of Aquatic Resources has rules restricting the catching of bait fish there, but no one has been able to locate the specific rule. For aku fishermen, the availability and access to bait fish is very important and they need an answer.

Answer: The short answer is that they aren't allowed to catch bait fish there, but there are alternative sites available nearby.

In general, the Aquatic Resources Division doesn't prohibit bait-fishing in Keehi, while the Boating and Ocean Recreation Division has administrative rules allowing someone with a bait-fishing license, issued by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, to do so.

However, the problem is that the area you mention is NOT a non-traffic area, according to department spokeswoman Deborah Ward. And that's why bait-fishing there is specifically prohibited.

It "is a heavily used fairway" providing access to Keehi Marine's haul-out area, fuel dock and mooring area and other activities, Ward said.

She cited Section 13-231-42 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules: "No person shall operate any vessel in a manner which will unreasonably interfere with other vessels or free and proper navigation of waterways."

Ward said fisherman have been known to interfere with the navigation of waterways by having their nets block the fairway.

The Boating and Ocean Recreation Division "has always welcomed the aku fishermen," Ward said, but has told them to fish elsewhere, specifically the north lagoon, south lagoon and the triangle anchorage area, "providing there are no water-ski tournaments occurring at the same time."


To three men who stopped and assisted me with a flat tire on Monday morning, Aug. 21. They are employees of the city, working out of the Haleiwa-Waialua Maintenance Yard. Their thoughtfulness and speed allowed me to deliver my grandchildren to school in time. Mahalo from all of us. -- No name


To those responsible for vandalizing Kakaako Waterfront Park by dumping rubbish onto the rocks and throwing the big rubbish can down toward the ocean. Mahalo to the good Samaritan, a regular park-goer, who, after two days, climbed down, retrieved the can, put the rubbish back in and returned it to its regular place. We need more of the good Samaritans and fewer of the vandals. -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to

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