Study: Molokai impacted less by overfishing
WAILUKU, Maui (AP) — Molokai is among the state’s least impacted areas by overfishing, a 17-year multiagency study found.
The study, which began in 2000 and encompassed 25,000 in-water surveys, found overfishing to be the primary cause of reef fish declines in Hawaii. Maui and Oahu were most impacted.
Molokai is more fortunate than the other islands in terms of fish numbers, being that it has the country’s longest contiguous fringing reefs and is relatively free of the development that plagues other islands.
The abundance of food fish species — those primarily caught for human consumption — is lower in populated areas, while there is no difference in the abundance of nonfood fish species between populated and unpopulated areas, according to the study. This leads scientists to think fishing, not other human influences, is primarily responsible for the differences.
Fisherman and conservationist Kelson Poepoe said he took it upon himself to spread awareness and encourage people to harvest responsibly on Molokai.
“No need be greedy,” Poepoe said. “Everybody can have one share in the food that comes out of the ocean.”