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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Celebrating sustainable fishing
By Rachelle Chang @ 5:39 PM :: 3921 Views :: Environment

Celebrating sustainable fishing

by Rachelle Chang, Better Hawaii, October 22, 2013

My husband is an enthusiastic fisherman, so it’s no surprise that we went to the Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival in Honolulu earlier this month.

It was sunny, humid, beautiful October morning, and volunteers greeted us with event programs at the entrance to Pier 38. White tents lined the pier and saltwater fish were displayed in the cool auction warehouse. My husband disappeared into the white tents and conversations with other fishermen. My 7-year old son and I enjoyed relaxing music and free shaved ice from Chevron, but we missed Coastie the Safety Boat, the Coast Guard robotic boat that moves, blinks its eyes, speaks, and shoots water at boys and girls.

The theme this year was “Sharing Our Ocean Resources, Sharing Responsibility,” and I’d like to thank the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group, volunteers, and sponsors for a friendly and educational event. Our oceans and our fisheries are a vital resource for food sustainability in Hawaii.

Let’s also take a few moments to appreciate all of the research, education, and sustainable practices that are necessary to ensure sustainable fishing.

Fishermen Code of Conduct

Fishermen of all ages can follow the Fishermen Code of Conduct, written by the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council:

1. RESPECT NATURE and your place in it.
2. SEEK ADVICE of experts with generational knowledge of the local resources.
3. SHOW REGARD to spawning seasons and juvenile fish.
4. DO NOT WASTE. Take only what is needed.
5. KEEP SAFE people, property, and resources.
6. OBEY fishing laws and rules.
7. USE PROPER gear and techniques.
8. PICK UP YOUR TRASH.
9. SHARE your catch.

Families can teach children about ocean safety and only taking the fish that you need. You and your keiki can practice “catch and release,” remembering to keep fish in water as much as possible, handle them gently, and remove hooks quickly. If you decide to keep your fish, make sure it is of legal size and in season, and pack it on ice. Read “One Fish, Two Fish, Get Ready to Go Fish!” together, a beginner’s guide from the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group. Down a copy of “Why is Hawaii’s Ocean Important?” an activity book from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

All of us can support sustainable fisheries by knowing where our fish comes from and choosing local sustainable seafood. We can read more about Hawaii’s sustainable fishing in “Keeping Hawaii Seafood Sustainable” by the Hawaii Seafood Council.

Are you a fisherman? Do you have a favorite seafood recipe? What are your favorite fishing memories? My childhood fishing memories involve a bamboo pole, shallow streams, and my dad.

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