Study: Molokai im­pacted less by over­fish­ing

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS -

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.”

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