Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Opinions mixed
on fishing rules

Plans for a conservation district in
Pupukea get community comments

By Diana Leone

About 100 people filled the Sunset Elementary cafeteria to express support and opposition to proposed expansion of Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District that would include stricter rules.

Pole fisherman Beto Yadao said he feels like fishermen are being discriminated against if they cannot fish in Shark's Cove and Three Tables anymore.

But others expressed hopes that prohibiting fishing in the conservation district would actually improve fishing nearby.

Bruce Munday said Marine Life Conservation Areas are now favored by fisheries managers around the world. He said he's concerned that the district is "ineffective in its present form because of the many exceptions" that allow fishing.

"It's a great idea to have a conservation area," said Durrah Watson of Pupukea. "And I think everyone will benefit."

Andrea Woods of Sunset Beach said she supports the expanded Marine Life Conservation District. "Let's give time to allow these waters to live up to their name and to ensure that our ocean resources will be healthy and viable in years to come," she said.

Subsistence fisherman Buddy Alconcel of Kaneohe said he objects to the proposed ban on spearfishing. "In all my years diving in the Shark's Cove and Three Table areas -- I do not see depletion of the fish." He's more concerned about "new divers who don't respect the reef -- a lot of damages occurring to the reef."

Bob Leinau, who served on the task force that came up with the proposed rules, said he loves diving and loves fishing, but "you can't find a kumu 10 inches long anymore," a sign that fish stocks are being depleted.

Several fishermen denied that, saying they clean up after others.

Lester Choy, president of the Waialua Boat Club and a member of the task force, said: "If we can't fish, should be no surfing, no swimming, no nothing. Just let the Hawaiian people do what they want. People from the mainland should go back where they belong."

Key points of the proposed changes include: expanding the district seaward 100 yards and taking in Waimea Bay; banning fishing in Shark's Cove and Three Tables; banning spear guns; and capping the number of divers allowed in the district at any given time.

If significant changes are made to the proposed rules, there could be another public hearing.

Also, $1 million was allocated to upgrade the drinking-water system on the Big Island.

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